names have been omitted in this post
She sat perched on the edge of the taupe couch beside me and looked through the family photos that spanned several decades, pointing out how again and again her in-laws that were pictured in the background of the photos at family gatherings like Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays showed bored, detached expressions... or faces that spoke volumes of how they hated having to share the moment, the limelight with "the other side", meaning her parents.
I myself was unfortunately all too familiar with these types of photos as I had seen my fair share of them during my own marriage in which my exes family members were unknowingly photographed with grim looks of "How much longer do I have to be here? And why on earth were those other people (her parents) invited?"
I indeed knew this and she spoke with sadness... "You know... I think one of the worst things is you go through a divorce and you look back on all the times you tried, you really tried and it was never good enough. They didn't like you, you weren't this, you weren't that. They made it so clear that they felt you weren't good enough for their son and you spent all those years on the sidelines, being treated as an outsider... never really feeling like a part of the group." she told me and sighed...
They say a photo tells a story
speaks a thousand words
it's so incredibly true.
Photographs pick up on so much in our lives, often minute glimpses that may go otherwise unnoticed. Photos pick up on detachment from family, people taking sides, our dad with his face in a book missing out on memories being made at his feet by his children, isolation, less than loving thoughts towards others or events surfacing on our face and even our hurts... our brokenness. The camera lens picks up our forced smile through a trial were experiencing, our drawn facial lines, the bags under our eyes during times of hardship showing the effects of foggy haze-like sleep deprivation.
Seeing The Loss In Photos…
The morning following my sister being killed by a drunk driver I woke to it being my son's birthday. Admittedly, I was hardly in the mood to think of a birthday when the previous night marked the date of my sisters death. "Happy Birthday" spoken to him was forced in a false cheerfulness and a pasted smile and although I didn't want the previous night to overshadow his day the reality of our loss loomed large over us all.
That night in the kitchen when I went to cut the first slice of his brightly speckled birthday cake and heard the words "Say cheese!" I had to force myself to smile. As the camera lens clicked I remember thinking... "I'll never forget this... this sucks and I want to hide."
our brokenness… is often what keeps us in tune with God… on the path toward Him versus the opposite direction. Often the losses, problems and adversity in our life keep us dependent on Him because when there is an absence of such is when we often become more prideful in self sufficiency, self reliance, egotistical tendencies versus humble in nature and quick to not worship Him as much… as if we are then justified in taking a hiatus however brief from gratitude, thankfulness, prayer and reliance on Him.
Our ego is God's enemy, the ultimate representation of self over selflessness. And God wishes to break anything that doesn't draw us closer to Him… ego, selfishness, pride, narcissism, self-gratification. Of course often the very first thing we often want to do is retreat… to run, to hide and cry out "Okay, God… truce! Waving the white flag… I want to grow… but maybe another time! Maybe not right now… and tomorrow's not lookin too good either!"
When life is easy we may
feel we don't need Him
But we can take heart in knowing that ultimately God wants us to trust Him… when we admit our fears to Him, we admit our struggle, that we need Him, that we need comfort, strength, the courage to get through, even healing… we humble ourselves before Him.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and
burdened, and I will give you rest."
- Matthew 11:28
Whether we suffer from brokenness in the aftermath of a failed marriage, losing someone we love, enduring an illness we did not expect, an obstacle we need to overcome however large or small, any life tribulation... we can be assured that our hurts will be healed, as God is the ultimate healer.
God always heals,
our hurts are met with His healing…
we can glance back at the past
and then press on, looking forward…
knowing we are healed
for the next photo to be taken…
with a smile.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014