My favorite family pictures are the imperfect ones. The pictures that usually don’t make the cut. Do you know what I’m talking about? The family is dressed in their finest coordinated outfits, hair is brushed and braided, we pose and smile for the photographer and every picture comes out perfectly…not on your life! Don’t get me wrong. I love pretty family pictures and I fully appreciate all of the shots it takes to get the one perfect image. But even more, I love the candid shots, the pictures where the family lets you on the inside. The crying baby, the toddler distracted, the dad rolling his eyes, the mom bewildered and desperately trying to get the perfect family picture.
This is my family. My treasures. My work of art. If our lives were on display in an art museum, we would take up every wall. Every pretty and every ugly. All works of art because they’ve brought us to where we are now. I wouldn’t trade any single moment.
Life is lived forward but understood backward
In preparing for Easter, I wanted to use our family china that has been passed down from generations and all branches of the family tree. (I will share more on these treasures another time.) In searching for the china, I found myself digging through some forgotten boxes and discovered a box with my boy’s report cards, poems, and school pictures. Sweet memories flood my heart. As I kept digging I found old family letters:
- Letters written by my mom during some of her challenging days.
- Poems written to the boys when they were little.
- Letters penned in grief by my family members after her passing.
Talk about emotion. I don’t really remember the impact they had on me when I received them 20 – 30 years ago, but they sure impact me now. Words I needed to hear now.
In our family, there has been pretty and there has been ugly. We don’t usually put the ugly on display, but it’s there. Thankfully, there is grit, toughness, forgiveness, there is grace, and there is love that covers it all.
May all the broken pieces of our lives, the spilled bottles of paint, pencil shavings and dried-up markers, broken and forgotten crayons and the smashed pieces of chalk be crafted into the masterpiece our families will read in future generations.
May the LORD be with us as He was with our ancestors. May He never leave us or forsake us.
1 Kings 8:57