Monday, April 29, 2013

A Life in Pictures

Two weeks ago, I took my youngest daughter and spent a long weekend with my parents in California. There was a moment in a little sidewalk cafe in downtown Oakland where the light was streaming through the arches of the architecture in the most perfect way. I got sort of swept away by it all and had my parents pose for what appeared to be a very candid picture.

I even had my mom put on my sunglasses so that the look would be uniform. You can't tell by their closed mouths, but they were making fun of me as this picture was taken.  I loved the resulting photo and guess what, so does everyone else who's seen it, including them.

This weekend, the children had their annual piano recital. The dress code for the event is shirts and ties, minimum for boys, and dresses for girls. With all the traveling we've done over the past several weeks, our laundry pile looks like something off of that old Niecy Nash show Clean House. When we got up that morning, Ben couldn't find a button-up shirt to go with his tie. He could find a plaid shirt and his tie but they did not go together at all. We searched and stressed and sorted until finally he remembered the old Easter shirt that he didn't like, but would have to do for the day. We curled and primped and styled and ironed and at the very last minute as we were walking out the door, I snapped the following picture:

They are indeed the very picture of loveliness, aren't they?

But here is what I have learned about taking pictures: They never tell the whole story. My life is composed of so much more than the perfect little snaps that I have taught myself how to grab over the years. My life is filled with laundry piles from clothes dirtied in our front yard without grass. My life is filled with untidy kitchens from ignoring messes to go wipe runny little noses. My life is filled with children standing in corners, writing sentences, and refusing to write book reports. My life is filled with endless projects yet to be finished and endless projects yet to be started. We lead a big, bustling, messy life. Every once in a while, though, I like to take a lovely picture with everyone smiling neat and pressed to remind me of the beauty through the mayhem.

Perfection? Perfection in this life is subjective, I suppose.  Our only goal is to reach perfection in the eyes of our Maker. If in this life they learn to love and honor God in the Blessed Trinity; to love and respect one another; and to treat others with the dignity and respect that they would want for themselves, then I will call this life a success.

Photos only tell a fraction of the story. Please judge us only by our fruit.

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