Photographs and memories

“Photographs and memories

All the love you gave to me

Somehow it just can’t be true

That’s all I’ve left of you.”

Missy and I spend two days, six hours per day going through boxes of pictures accumulated over the preceding fifty-five years.  We still have four tubs of boxes of pictures from her parents’ house.  Both of her parents are dead, and the identity of many from those tubs is now only a guess.  How unfortunate that we didn’t take the time to go through those boxes while they were alive.  Missy’s father’s family was especially colorful that Missy regrets not having recorded the stories she heard all the years of going to her grandmother’s house.  I wonder how many of the stories will survive to our kids.

We had plastic storage bags for each child and, as we went through each box, the pictures were placed in the appropriate bag.  It was a wonderful experience to see the evidence of fun-packed childhoods.  The kids tell us that they had happy childhoods and now I can see why.  We were completely focused on the kids as we coached their teams, athletic and academic.  We did scouts, girl and boy.  We were in church, acolyte, Sunday School, VBS, Children’s sermon time, you name it.  We went to camp, football, soccer, ocean and mountain.  We had holidays, Halloween, Christmas, St. Patrick’s, and on and  on.  It was full and it was busy. 

Now I hope my children will do a better job with the memories than we did with our parents’.  I hope the stories aren’t lost forever, and the identities of the people in the pictures unknown.  The love they gave us is now in photographs and memories, and we don’t even know who they are is the tragedy of this.  That love shaped our ancestors, and their experiences molded their frame of reference for life and our place in life.  All that is left is tubs of photographs and vague memories.   Memories are something that you have to be intentional about maintaining.  Missy came home from Kanuga after a Christian Ed conference and talked about how the Bible is a family history and it needs to be told everyday so it isn’t forgotten or edited.  The good, the bad, the ugly all needs to be remembered and retold so that the lessons aren’t forgotten dooming the next generation to repeating the mistakes.  Tell your story, and tell it often.  Who knows, somebody might be listening.  Enjoy Jim Croce singing to us about his lost love.

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