Summer is transitioning into the season of harvest. Roadside stands overflow with produce to be canned or frozen to be preserved for use at a future time. I don’t can or preserve food but I do save and savor memories.
I use my camera to collect and gather those subjects and scenes that represent a moment of time in my life that I want to re-examine and remember at a later date. Facebook saves our status updates on our timeline, reflecting the concept that we are constantly moving through time and often on a path that represents a line. When a person snaps a picture, they are selecting a moment in time to freeze and preserve and they share this choice on their social media outlets and I, in turn, share what is important in my life.
In photo editing programs you can select any part of a photo and your selection is represented by blinking dashed lines – technically known as “marching ants” – to identify what you have chosen to act upon. You can edit, delete, copy and paste this selection as desired. When I view my friends’ photos and postings on Facebook, I am seeing what they have selected out of their lives to share and I appreciate that their “marching ants” have been chosen because they want to include me, along with their other friends, in seeing life from their perspective. This is the basis for nurturing and maintaining that human connection so important in our culture.
I take care to document those occasions and experiences that represent how I see the world and my place in it. I also take the time to preserve my photos on my website (www.pixelpaula.com) and on my iPad so that when my soul is in need of refreshment, I can easily find and scroll through my albums and choose what views will lift my spirit at that time.
Our recent short road trip to the beaches on Lake Michigan’s western shore not only yielded new memories but also tagged memories from years past. Watching children building a sand castle soon became a replay of me playing in the sand at Henes Park in Menominee, MI, with my sister, as my brother waded further out with his friends and my mother kept a watchful eye on our baby sister sleeping in the shade.
Seeing the picnics at roadside parks recalled our many family picnics, more than one of which ended with a mad dash to the car as the rain poured down. Dad simply drove up to the grill and flipped the burgers from the car window, fun uninterrupted.
My husband and I celebrated 31 years of marriage on that trip, years that included the making of many memories of all kinds. It is a perk of retirement that I have the time to sift through the timeline of my life and pull out those experiences and events that are saturated with bright blessing and I praise God once again for His mercy that never ends.
It is said that “we always have our memories”. I took this a a promise but realized, as my mother aged through dementia, that it is a hope instead. Her memories broke apart and reconfigured in some rather bizarre ways towards the end of her life. I think seeing her change taught me to not take my memories for granted. Perhaps that is why I invest so much of my time observing my daily timeline and my surroundings. Rather than capturing Pokemon virtual creatures, I capture those moments that seem worthy of preservation, praying that my memories will remain focused and true as long as I have life on this earth.
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.” – Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NIV)
Whether I remember my memories accurately all the days of my life is up to God and His will for me and I cannot discover anything about my future. Therefore, I take great comfort in His promise that He will be with me always and He will keep me safe in my faith even if my memory is not with me always.