Photograph

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“We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
And time’s forever frozen still”

-Song: Photograph by Ed Sheeran

I love looking through old family pictures. Sometimes I will dig them all out and allow myself to fall into a time that has slipped away. I find myself forgetting the names of the faces that held me close at one point in my life. So long ago it seems, but in the face of time, happened only yesterday. Taking pictures can be an obsession, I used to snap pictures of everything in my haste to remember, and yet I failed to make a memory. Fear of time passing tends to make it pass faster. My fondest pictures are, truly, the ones only in my mind. The moments I put the camera down and lived.

It can be painful, always being so nostalgic. Maybe that’s why I love photography, antiques, and old TV shows. They all preserve a time that has passed, a time that can no longer be. People and stories that shouldn’t be forgotten, and yet, also shouldn’t be brought back to life. What I mean, is God places us all in the right era and time. We take the stage of life right on queue, singing our song and leaving our mark, preparing the scene for the next lineup or generation. We dishonor our past by living in it. What they sacrificed and died for was for us to live in now. Our freedom, for instance, we enjoy now because our distant relatives understood what it meant to be on the stage of life. They could have lived only for themselves, and yet they recognized that once they left the stage others would fill the space, their children and grandchildren needed a better world, and so they took it upon themselves to make it so.

When I look back that is what I see. Men and women sacrificing to make the world a better place for their children. Did they always get it right? No. Were their times of selfishness? Yes. But it was their time, to live, love, and die. Each chasing what they thought had lasting meaning and purpose, hoping their story wouldn’t be forgotten, but never desiring that the future generations would look at their time and long for it. They always wanted the future to be better than what they had, just as much as we want our children to live in a better world and society.

As Christians, we have forgotten what others have paid the price for. We have failed to secure the ground that has been won by our ancestors. There shouldn’t be doubt today about the spiritual gifts, we shouldn’t be stuck in religion, love should still be our legacy! Instead of looking back and declaring that God only worked in those times, we need to remind ourselves again that God NEVER changes, He is the same God in every era, and He didn’t start off big to become smaller in His works and wonders! It was His desire that we would look back and see what is possible through Him, and do greater things now because of it. And we have accepted the past as our endnote just as we have accepted the final page of the Bible as the end of God speaking to us. I say this with caution, He wouldn’t contradict His Word, but He will compliment it and work in new ways through it. The Bible doesn’t contain Him. To be honest, what really could? He is infinite and full of mystery.

The past should be remembered, it’s ok to take pictures and to be nostalgic once and awhile, but if we find ourselves always longing for the past we need to ask ourselves, why? I long for the morality of the past, the patriotism and simpler times. I also long for the innocence and naivety of my youth, the days spent with people that are now asleep, or have moved beyond my reach. No matter what I wish, I can’t fall into those pictures and relive those moments. I can’t tap my heels together and bring about a new world. Our world would not gain anything to go back in time, just as we wouldn’t gain anything to go back to our youth. We would be living in a museum.

Our past should stay in the past, but we record the past so that we remember where we came from. A photograph can bring you back in time and remind you of who you were, and that should give you hope, should spur you into growth and hopeful expectation of the future. I want to be more than that girl in the photograph, I want our world to be more than it was back then, I want my ceiling to become (the next generations) floor.

Yesterday

Forever apart

And a part of me

Were the days 

I spent playing

Along the stream

The waters still moving

Though never the same

Time had erased

The river I claimed

No sound of laughter

No gentle breeze

Water no longer

Up past my knees

But maybe it’s not the river

But me

That has undergone change

Like the current I see

Yesterday is gone

Like a seed to a tree

I don’t regret

Those changes in me

Though I no longer

Play by the stream

I’ve learned a great lesson

About legacy

Yesterdays’ seed

Is tomorrow’s tree

Forever apart

And a part of me.

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