You saw me before I was born.Psalm 139:16
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
The implicit invitation for Photo Friday this week is unavoidable. “Hey, Derek! How about splashing a bunch of photographs of your dad on this page?”
“I don’t mind if I do!”
It’s a great idea. The problem, however, is how far to go when it comes to research? There are many amazing photographs on slides, hidden somewhere in my parents’ attic. Then there are all those family albums, black and white and turning yellow and sometimes faded away altogether. Or the files lost somewhere on an old computer or the dreaded floppy disk!
So I decided to be reasonable. I found a few in my files. Rebekah went next door to my mum’s house and she found a bunch too. So I photographed the photos and here we are.
What a cute kid, huh? This was taken in the 1930’s, before the outbreak of WW2. A couple of years later he would be packed onto a train with his entire school and relocated – “evacuated” – living four years with strangers and far away from family.
Then there’s the one with his three sisters, the group shot when he did his national service, playing cricket, and (above) standing with mum at the end of a pier; I believe dad was around 21 and she was 18 at the time!
I think my favorite, other than with newborn me and two-year-old Geoff, has to be his stage shot playing the angel Gabriel!
“A Glorious Spot!”
Another great memory grabber is of dad squatting by what looks like a camp fire. What’s really going on there is a scene repeated many, many times over the years. We’d be on vacation, or just motoring for a Sunday afternoon outing, when dad would pull over on the side of a quiet road, usually somewhere with a view, and he would announce, “This looks like a glorious spot!”
Then he would open the “boot” (trunk) of the car and pull out a tripod, a gas-fueled flame, a kettle, a tea pot, some milk in a thermos, ceramic mugs, and some biscuits (cookies), and a number of folding chairs. He would then build a wind-shelter around the apparatus and boil water, to make the tea, so we could sit and enjoy a peaceful interlude and enjoy the view in our “glorious spot” sipping a cup of hot tea.
Everyone has a shoebox full of photographs like these. Your parents, grandparents, kids, family pets caught in the moment, a literal freeze-frame of time, a fraction of a second slice of history.
We take these snapshots because we are so present in the event at the time, and we want to remember, we want to hold them again – the feelings, the circumstance, the memory, the people – just as they were, our way of pushing back against the sometimes relentless chipping away the years effect.
But what these photographs really achieve – at least they do for me, is a flood of emotions, the most significant of which is gratitude. Time does not stand still; we cannot do anything to change that. But beautiful memories help me to understand and embrace the particular and unique joy of this moment too, right now, and the promise of more joy to come.
To my dad, just about everywhere we went as a family qualified as “a glorious spot!” And it still does. This is a glorious day! And tomorrow can be a wonderful blessing too.
All we have to do is to look at the world through the eyes of love, and light, and faith, and promise. – DEREK