Yesterday was my son David’s last 1st day of school. I was hoping to post on social media a pair of pictures: one of his 1st day in kindergarten and one on his 1st day of 12th grade. I thought we had digital images from 2006, but, alas, our digital camera was purchased just prior to the birth of our youngest in December of 2007. I am sure that I have a physical photo in a presently unavailable box somewhere, but it would not be found on my laptop. However, in the midst of the search, Jeanine and I laughed and cried over ten years of captured moments.
We began with the 1st day of school pictures of the last ten years, then moved on to birthdays and Christmas. We saw pictures of vacations and awards ceremonies. We clicked through church events and graduations. Some of the images were posed and prepared, but many were candid and spontaneous. It is the candid shots that are the most delightful. They are the ones that represent what is real.
There were images of that holiday when everyone cried at dinner, of the birthday where the kids were fighting over cake and ice cream, and of the random day where one of the children played with the camera. It is these stolen moments, when raw emotions like love, joy or rage are on full display. They are genuine: small faces with squinting or swollen eyes, mouths agape or lips pursed; they are goofy and gawky, slightly blurred by motion or misfocus. They are life. That is what elicited our titters and tears. The beauty of those candid photos on my computer is that they enable us to gain a glimpse of the inner self – my (and my family’s) true fragile, flawed, fool-hearty, frail and fabulous nature.
Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:4 (NIV)
While the above-mentioned verse relates primarily to women, the truth it contains, in context is that there is a difference between the outward appearance and the inner self. The world celebrates the outward appearance but the Lord values to inner person. The selfies and pictures of perfect foods and vacations on social media are a charade; they are staged and stylized. They capture the ideal of outward appearance. I would rather hold onto the unfading beauty of my family’s inner selves. I want to value their gentle and quiet spirit, warts and all.
A few weeks ago, I posted about my family portrait experience. These portraits are essential to capture a moment. But I will hold onto those fuzzy candids of my precious children, even though the images make my children cringe, because that is how I capture and hold onto what we are. I love those little beauties standing on porches for the past 20 years and I appreciate the technology that allows me to remember how blessed I am through all the realities of life.