Wednesday, May 27 2020 - 7:22 AM
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Photographic Memories

Worn postcards, old stamps, stained love letters – we’re all collectors of “things.” Items that hold sentimental value are often put in a box for remembrance. Although most of these boxes sit for years collecting dust, we’re unable to part with our unique treasures. Over the years, I’ve collected many specific items that hold intrinsic value to me. Although weeding out has proven challenging, I’ve managed to thin out my collections; yet, there’s one box that remains – a collection of photographs.

Pictures have always intrigued me; being able to view previous years of life on paper is incredible. As a young girl, I remember using disposable cameras and taking pictures of everything in sight. I’d use up all the film, only to wait days or weeks to see blurred photos. After recently going home, I found dozens of shoeboxes filled with such images. Over 20 of photographs were crammed in these shoeboxes, and it gave me such joy looking through them. Pictures would emerge of my brother digging in the backyard, my sister licking the cake spoon, or my father in deep conversation. I enjoy sifting through years of forgotten memories.

Photographs are a swirl of colored memories that are frozen for a tiny moment. We’ve come so far in technology; even our phones can freeze moments in time. What a remarkable thing it is to save memories through film. Photographs have a way of tugging at our emotions, no matter the memory or significance. Whether it’s a photo of a familiar face or a historical painting, pictures have a way of speaking indirectly to us.

During my college years, I remember strolling through an art museum. I was note-taking for a specific class when I spotted a local art piece. It was a picture of several children running through a field, childish joy radiating through each of the young faces. Such a simple picture brought me back to my childhood days; days when my siblings and I would run through the cornfields in our bare feet. When photographs capture our imaginations, our creative minds soar with inspiration from mere color. We become so obsessed with capturing the perfect moment that we actually miss out on living in those very moments.

“A picture is worth a thousand words . . . .” But, what’s a memory worth? If you’re anything like me, you find it somewhat challenging to live without documenting special trips or events. I find myself regularly taking pictures of my surroundings without actually enjoying the present. I’ve become so dependent on photographs that I often lose out on extraordinary, everyday moments.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24, ESV).

God provides us with the gift of life and surrounds us with those we love. But it’s important that we take the time to enjoy those moments. If we don’t put down the lens once in a while, we’ll miss out on some incredible memories. Psalm 118:24 serves as a good reminder to focus on the present.

Looking back, I’m thankful for a lot of the photographs I’ve collected over the years. But I also wish I’d taken more time to appreciate time without a camera. Life is too short, so go enjoy it; live in the present without always documenting the moment. I promise, you’ll create so many more lasting memories with those you love.

Madeleine Lowe writes from Indiana.

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About Madeleine Lowe

Madeleine Lowe

writes from Indiana.

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