Life is Beautiful

Every moment is a gift.

I was looking at a couple of different professional photography blogs today and saw people captured in light and time in a way that was flattering, but also in a way that allowed their specific physical quirks and graces to shine. I recall from my own wedding that some of my favorite photos were the least staged or the most wrinkle-filled. My grandmother with Alzheimer’s, her face glowing from excitement, even though she had a hard time remembering who was getting married. My husband’s grandfather, sitting quietly on a bench in the church, observing the festivities in his own stoic way. My brothers and my husband’s best friends, giving him a hard time while they got ready for the ceremony–I can see the mischief in their faces, even today. My closest friends, surrounding me as I got ready, and praying over me. My dad’s expression when he saw me for the first time … and the tears of joy and regret we shared when acknowledging, together, we wished my mother could have lived to see that day.

And then I look back at old family photos. Some are from my family. There’s snapshots of my brothers and I growing up. There’s the snapshots from my parents’ wedding, blurry and overexposed, but still treasured. Some are from other families I don’t know. I bought those photos at an antique store, in bulk, and have sold many of them over the months through my shop. While looking at them, I’ve marveled at the life of this family. Their snowball fights in the late 30s or 40s. Their new cars. Their summer trips across the United States. Their boating outings on the lake. Their photos of men and women in uniform around the era of World War II. It’s amazing. This whole existence, in a box of photos. I’m enchanted and so curious about the people I’ve never met.

The photos don’t tell the hard stories, usually, but sometimes they do. I have a digital photo of my mother that makes me tear up every time I pass by it on my way to find another photo. I have a hard time looking at that photo, one of the last ones I have of her, taken a couple of weeks before she died, but not before her skin saw the yellowing of jaundice brought on by a failing liver. It hurts to see that photo, yet it doesn’t only hurt. It is still a memory of a woman I loved dearly.

Every photo I’ve held on to through the years tells a story. A beautiful story of the lives of my world … my family … my life.

What stories do your photos tell?

I bet they’re beautiful, too.

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