So many photo albums. Boxes and boxes of memories from the beginnings of a life to the present. Photos of my son – even his birth certificate – preserved in plastic sleeves with descriptive tags to indicate his growth: 8 pounds, 3.5 ounces, 19.5 inches long.
Preschool. Kindergarten graduation with a mortar board and tassel. Through the years of puberty – his larvae of manhood – into the present grown man. And a handsome fellow to boot!
Report cards, certificates of attendance and Awana awards. How quickly they grow, then leave.
Other memories: children sitting in multiple classrooms listening to my words, vacations to Europe, Florida, Chicago and my beloved New Mexico.
Photos of family members now gone, a reminder of their younger, more vital days before old age sapped strength and the ICU machines beeped a goodbye.
Some family members still living and working although crowned with greying hair, wisdom wrinkles and those chronic illnesses we try to avoid or hide.
Lives lived and recorded on yellowing film and clipped into binders. But who wants to store these heavy boxes? None of us, especially when we can scan, digitalize and save to that obsequious cloud.
After several people looked through the albums and chose pictures they wanted to keep, it was my task to make the final choices.
I took out the plastic sleeves, stored them for my son and his future home, then threw away those albums. Most of them now faded, their backs broken, cardboard flayed by multiple moves.
A life lived. The memories sealed forever in our hearts, each of us filtering hope from our own perceptions, our viewpoints selective yet valuable.
When we finally ascend to eternity’s arms, will the pictures of our lives be stored by the good we did, the love we shared, the other pilgrims we helped?
I like to think so.
No need for albums then. We’ll have living memorials of the hope we encapsulated within one short life.
©2019 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Hope Shines and Sometimes They Forget memorialize lives within the genre of essays. Check them out.