More often than not, we capture photos to represent a moment. To hold it dear, because in the next minute, we’re afraid it may not be the same.
I’ll be honest, looking through my library of photos over the years took me on a serious walk down memory lane. While not a single photo may mean a thing to an outsider, they are all part of my narrative. There are ones I look back on and smile, softly to myself. Some I burst out in laughter, remembering the late night and sleep depravity in that nasty college apartment. Some are like I said earlier, a memory that existed for a moment, hour or day, that no longer exists. Friendships that have ended, kiddos that have grown, exquisite sunsets that can’t be beat or loved ones that have gone to be with Jesus.
These are some of my favorite photos I’ve taken. Each has the first layer: the one you see, the story your mind tells just by glancing at it. Each also has the second layer: the real story, the emotion that inspired the reach for the camera.
Layer 1: A clear day, lounging on a log with a dear friend.
Layer 2: A impromptu, last-minute trip to Hume Lake, with new and old friends. Captured by one of the other girls, cause I’m in it, although don’t know who. We were sitting on this log, listening to the water, talking about how weird it was that the lake was empty, how good God is, and how much joy it brought us to be out of our routine.
Layer 1: That rock in the desert where Forrest Gump ran.
Layer 2: Driving all night, and all day with coworkers and friends across four state lines, to make it to Utah with two minutes before sunset. We proceeded to camp in a teepee village, eat burritos out of a trailer, and come home in less than 48 hours. Quickest whirlwhind trip, but totally worth it!
Layer 1: Water moving quickly around a rock.
Layer 2: Waking up at the crack of dawn, on our Maui vacation to go find the sunrise. It rose too quickly, and I didn’t get a single good photo of it. So I gave up and started shooting pictures of rocks and plants instead.
Layer 1: A foggy forest.
Layer 2: A day I was feeling particularly down, so instead of driving home after church, drove straight up the freeway to the mountains, alone. I pulled over about halfway up, found a rock on the side of the road and sat in the rain, reading Hosea, crying and journaling. I can definitely say I found God here, in the midst of the fog, exhaustion and rain. His peace and love felt like it overwhelmed me, rejuvenating my soul. Every time I see this photo, I remember that love.
Layer 1: Dirty converse, desert and camera at sunset.
Layer 2: Camping in Joshua Tree, where we spent labor day weekend offroading in my friend’s Jeep, watching the Milky Way shine like I’ve never seen stars shine, and shooting guns into the sunset. I read the entirety of The Bachelor Sean Lowe’s book “For the Right Reasons”, drank sangria before noon, and don’t regret a second of it.
Layer 1: Saturated mountaintop with random people.
Layer 2: A worship experience at camp. Soft guitar music was playing, we were encouraged to spread out, lay down, wander, journal, read, or think. My memory is vivid–laying in the dirt, listening to the white noise nature provides, and seeing a stranger sobbing. I didn’t know who she was, but saw a young lady sit next to her, embracing her and praying over her. One of the most beautiful moments, seeing the body of Christ come alongside each other like that. You bet I cried. How can you not??
I pray over each of these moments, that they never be forgotten. Take a minute (or hour and a half, like I just did) and look through your old photos. What story do they tell?