Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Packing is hard for me.  Not because I'm incapable of the work, but mostly because I'm incapable of staying on task in the face of nostalgia.  I was putting away/looking through photo albums and ended up flipping through those pages again instead of moving on.  Look! There I am with long hair! With glasses! In high school! In college! What am I wearing? Oh my..... (say that last bit in George Takei's voice.  If you didn't already.)

I don't print photos much anymore, but I still find myself doing the same kind of thing with my digital photos.  Look! There I am in seminary! In a musical! With short hair! With a Baby! What am I wearing?  Then there are the photos which only I can see on Facebook - the photos of my first marriage.  The photos of the years before "all the evil".  The photos of a life that I used to have and have no longer.  Photos that I keep but no longer share; photos that have become representative rather than nostalgic; photos that still have the power to hurt.

Thankfully, the path of my life has wended in such a way that I have new pictures to store, to save, to share, to linger over, to place in albums that only get glanced at every few years. Photos which tell the story of a new life I'm living into, a new life that is being revealed to me.

Photos of me, and Gareth....and of Gene.

Nerds in love.
Within the last few months I've made a few announcements, including:
I'm in a relationship!
I'm engaged!
I've left my position in Galveston...
I've accepted a new church in Houston.
I'm married. (Today, in fact!)

And there have been pictures (mostly) to go along, moments captured and shared that point to the changing landscape of my future.  Pictures that point forward, but also cause me to look back as well.  To look back and see the treacherous roads that I've passed through, that i've survived, that I've healed from, that I've learned from.  That's what most pictures do, I think.  We stop and stare, remembering (as much as possible) what those snapped portraits were a part of.  And we stop and stare, bemused at how the chasms of time have opened up between that moment and the present one.  Time is a swiftly flowing river, an infinite yellow-brick road that we mark with hastily staged photos and shared memories.

"This was when, this was when, this was when..." is the song we all sing, keeping ourselves connected to the times and persons we once lived in so deeply.  But I'm learning to sing a new song too, a song of hope and joy for the days ahead, "This could be, this could be, this could be..."

So yes, there will be new pictures.  Yes, there is new life, and new relationships for me.  There is possibility and that is wonderful.  It is gorgeous, if I'm honest.  But my pictures remind me that the past remains part of me, that what "was" hangs on and forms the sediment of the crust of my existence.  There was and there is and there will be and all together they form a picture of my life.  A picture that won't really ever be complete till I die.

Whatever pictures you are taking, whatever songs you are singing, whatever life is turning out to be for you, I hope that it involves love and joy, peace, kindness, forgiveness, possibility and grace.

And someone who will dress up in silly costumes with you.  Cause that's just awesome.
Fem-Walter & Nerd "The Dude" from the Big Lebowski.
You kind of had to be there.

1 comment:

Peggy Edge said...

Photographs and memories...!