Spring seems to be the season for pictures – senior pictures, graduation pictures, prom pictures, Easter pictures, and of course, group selfies on the last day of school. I would bet that Mother’s day (right around the corner – wink, wink, nudge, nudge) holds the record for “top picture-taking day”, mostly because moms and grandmas love pictures, and kids (even adult kids) hate getting their pictures taken. But if mom says, “Shut up and smile” on Mother’s Day, you had better do exactly that and if grandma says it, your life is on the line, so just shut up and smile already.
Photographs have a peculiar and magical ability to stop time, or at least force it to stand still. Captured images evoke emotion, invite imagination, and urge comforting reminiscence, which is why I have 1 big summer goal…
…I will conquer the brimming box of 4×6 glossies in the closet.
THEN, sort through the folders of digital prints on my computer.
THEN, order a few photo books, fill a bunch of old-school photo albums, and update my gallery wall.
Three months of summer to tackle a project of this magnitude is probably an overly optimistic goal. Thumbing through a decade of pictures will take an enormous amount of time. Like, forever.
I figured I’d start by transferring camera and phone pictures to my laptop, with main folders created by year and subsequent folders sorted by month. Whew. Progress. While I was at it, I fixed my screen saver so it shuffles through the various folders. It took only a few minutes, but this quick fix has added so many minutes of entertainment! And guess what I’m discovering. My memory isn’t as sharp as I think it is. Pictures pop up on the screen, and questions pop out of my mouth: “Why was I wearing that? Who in the world are those people? Where was that restaurant? Whose baby picture is that?” When the pictures were taken, I thought I’d always remember these details. Now I’m busy with present details and I’ve quickly forgotten pieces of the past.
Everyday I convince myself I’ll remember important details – the nearly empty gas tank, the new neighbor’s name (you know – what’s her face), the dinner in the oven I never set a timer for – and then life happens and I forget. I can’t rely on my faulty memory. I need reminders.
My soul needs reminders, too. The main concepts of the faith life are pretty simple to remember: Love Jesus. Trust Him. Obey. Stop loving myself more than others. But my day gets rolling and my own selfish themes pop up: Me first. I have rights. Out of my way. I don’t feel like it. Not my problem. Suddenly, I forget what I’m supposed to be doing. Jesus knows about my forgetful heart and mind, so He wrote a Book to refresh my memory; a scrapbook overflowing with faces, stories, and reminders. His Words from the past are just as fresh in the present, and they push me to live for the future.
Like my summer goal, following Christ takes commitment, time, and lots of reminders. It’s not enough to try not to forget His Truth. I have to choose to remember to read it. Every day. I may need to keep my Bible next to the coffee maker. Or maybe on top of my gym clothes. That’s a pretty good idea, actually. Better go do that now…
…before I forget.