You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast…

– Grace and David Maul reading together

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
 Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Isaiah 26:3-4
– Wake Forest based writer, Derek Maul

I want to preface this post by saying how important it is to me that I treat subjects with respect when I capture an image.

At the same time, the power of story and the impact of a photograph both require truth, and there is little truth left when we limit the story to sunshine and rainbows, platitudes, air-brushed skin tones or flattering angles.

This is why I always think seriously before publishing photographs of my parents. It is obvious to me that the evidence of aging equals beauty and character and wisdom and more. But at the same time it’s important that I support that truth with words.

So let me state, with absolute conviction, that David and Grace Maul are in every way beautiful, and that their journey into the nineties is one of grace and richness and unparalleled artistry.

The truth is also that life is not easy, and that taking care of people in the 90’s is at best a series of struggles, trade-offs, compromises, and carefully weighted decisions. What we want is not always what is best, and what is best is seldom what anyone is hoping for.

I am particularly pleased with these photographs because I believe they capture both the truth about beauty and the truth about how hard it all is.

Story about my mum:

I believe this story tells it all: When we arrived at dad’s assisted living the other day, a new resident was distressed and in tears – inconsolable. I took dad back to his room so we could visit quietly. But mum – who knew the new resident – stopped where she was, called her by name, took her hand, and encouraged her. Then my mum placed her hand on the woman’s head and audibly prayed for her. The entire room hushed, and there were tears in the eyes of the staff. It was a powerful moment.

Again, back to the scripture from Isaiah 26:3-4: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”

Can I get an “Amen”? – DEREK

8 comments

  1. Thank you for this beautiful post! Your parents are a beautiful gift not only to you and Rebeka, but to all who come into their lives. I remember having lunch with your Mum and ladies from WFPC and how she enjoyed herself and participated in conversation. I was blessed by her grace and joy. Please give her and your Dad a hug from me. Thanks for your blog! Regards to my favorite pastor! Hugs and peace! Diana Craig

    On Wed, Apr 20, 2022 at 10:24 AM Derek Maul: Words and Photographs for the

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  2. What a wonderful image of your mum’s love & caring for another person. Obviously you, Derek, inherited alot of her traits. God bless you & your family as you continue to share examples of kindness & love. Peace,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing this, Derek. What a poignant time your parents and you are sharing these days. And what blessings you have received observing your parents’ treatment of one another and those around them.

    My uncle and aunt are 100 and 101, respectively, celebrating their 80th wedding anniversary!
    He is my mother’s brother and Mom died at age 96. I call him and chat, chuckle, and count my blessings. Though their bodies are aged and infirmities confine them, Uncle Jimmy’s mind is clear as a bell and we love to reminisce and retell family stories we have told a thousand times, many of which both he and I have written down for posterity and shared with relatives.

    I cherish for you these years with your parents. The struggles are real and the care demanding, often tiring and frustrating, but the tender moments are precious and worth the struggles. May God bless you, Rebekah, and your parents.

    Hugh Hamilton

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  4. What a powerful witness! Your Mum is a good reminder to all of us, that as we live our own struggles, we can stop and lift others up in prayer. Thanks for sharing this intimate moment of faith in action!

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  5. Derek, amen! Grace exemplifies the strength that comes with steadfast faith.

    You describe this season of caring for our parents in their 90s so well. It is a journey I now travel with my precious Mama.

    Praying for all of us,
    Pat

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  6. What a wonderful image of GOD’S LOVE! captured in your mums beautiful willingness to console and pray in a time of need. The LORD uses us, no matter the age, race nor gender, Bless her to answer the call. May GOD continue to BLESS both of them.

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  7. Bless you all Derek. So hard to watch but so impressive, and so reminiscent of happy memories. Brought tears to our eyes but Grace it was, through and through.
    George and Gwyn

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  8. Derek, having gone through my parents papers, photographs, letters, files, etc., I share your sense of wonder and tedium. I pray you make additional good discoveries and memoirs. I digitally scanned over 500 letters from ancestors in my mother’s family, back to land deeds in 1700s in North and South Carolina, love letters between my g-g-grand parents in the 1840’s and her correspondence to him during the Civil War. They lived in Durham, NC until his death in the 1890’s and the letters, business ledgers, poems, and family keepsakes reveal a fascinating story. I have scanned all family photos, all photo albums, and all negatives, slides, and photographs and clippings I could secure. I have transposed my parent’s correspondence to each other and family members from 1940’s to 1990’s and compiled their life story combined with hundreds of photographs into a volume I had printed and bound for my family, my siblings, nieces and nephews. In 2022 I scanned letters and materials between my parents and a German family they met while stationed in Regensburg, Germany 1946-1948, and whose daughter Mom and Dad sponsored to come to USDA and attend Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. My mother had saved all their correspondence for 30 years into the 1970s, and in transcribing them into MS Word book via dictation software, I discovered things about Mom and Dad’s charitable work that I had never known. Again putting this into book form and sharing it with my sisters, we now have family legacy to share with our descendants.

    When asked how and when I found time to do this, I told folks that’s what you can do when you wake up at 3-4AM and can’t get back to sleep!
    I have taught a few workshops on how to digitally scan photos, slides, negatives, and papers.

    At Columbia Seminary I found my great-grandfather’s papers, his journal as a seminarian 100 years before me, including his descriptions of meeting and courting my great-grandmother at Davidson College, NC. Between presbytery and Synod minutes, obituaries, and articles I found out much more about him. In a frame over my desk I display photos of him, of my grandfather Hamilton, and me – all Presbyterian ministers. I have used his outlines of sermons and devotionals here at Trinity. The Columbia Seminary archivist copied pages of my great-father’s journal for me and I love reading his reflections as a seminarian, then his examination by presbytery for ordination, and looking at the ledger of baptisms, memberships, funerals, and his sermons and at which churches he preached them. Years of a handwritten ledger in precise, clean, handwriting!

    The transcription and organization of the materials you have may be tedious, but I ‘m sure you will find it a labor of love with great reward and satisfaction.

    Godspeed, my friend! Love to Rebekah.
    Hugh

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