For the record, I have been journaling all my life. And I have been capturing life through photography. We can learn so much from the past through both of these avenues.
Journaling has been a way to help RECORD and process events, thoughts, feelings, curiosities, challenges, and wins of life.
Photography is a visual RECORD to mark moments in time.
Call me a historian or maybe I am just sentimental. Perhaps, it’s because after losing my dad, I want to recognize and mark moments in time to understand them better. Either way, this past year or so, I have found myself reflecting on specific photographs and matching them with journal entries of particular moments in time. I’ve learned it helps to mark and understand those moments.
I am grateful I have both images and words to look back on. I have found information useful to grow and move forward with intention and hope.
As I watch my babies grow into their tweens, teen, and adult years, I am in awe of the passing of time. When I stop to breathe in these recorded events through pictures and words, I find so much gift. At the time, the click of a camera or scratch of a pencil might have seemed meaningless. Today I find myself grateful that I can see the beauty in having them.
When I view the words from the journals and examine the pictures scattered about, I can vacillate between feeling many things.
There is a feeling of joy or sorrow and let out a deep, bellowing laughter or gut-wrenching tears. There is always truth and healing, and unfailing love even in moments that were less than desirable.
The faces in the pictures display curious confusion and the search for clarity as one can witness the strength of character and an untethered exasperation.
There are images of family learning and creating stability, healthy boundaries, and long-standing traditions while breaking unhealthy generational patterns while still honoring the gifts of the past.
Sometimes I see moments that can be marked with hurt and confusion that surpass understanding. Sometimes they reveal pure joy and hope so you see how hard you have worked and the distance you have come. And you see pure exhilaration as you’ve enjoyed adventures that made you feel whole even while overcoming trauma and never-ending obstacles.
For the record, both the suffering and triumphs can exist together in the history of life. I am grateful I have chosen to record this life.
It helps to know despite coming from hard places, we can still live a pretty glorious life when we focus on the right things. I wonder if I keep flipping pages of my journals and albums filled with photographs what other precious revelations will come in time.
As we look at these records/reminders of the past, it helps to take time to reflect on parts with our children. When we do, they feel tethered and rooted in family history. Even if some accounts of the history speak of hardships, we still find beauty in the brokenness. You see that beauty in a gleaming smile or the curl of the hair, the sparkling blue eyes or the hearty laughter can be tied to someone oh so distant but still very close in our hearts.
Connecting the past, keeps us moving into the future with much more purpose and intention. And when we let faith guide our path, we see the holy work being done within our family to allow us to grow in positive ways.
So I ask you today, do you record your family story? It is never too late to start. Do you record your moments in a journal or using photographs? What have you learned from those meaningful moments?
If you don’t already, I encourage you to keep a record for yourself and for those in your future. And for the record, when you do, I hope you see the unfailing love and hear the abundant laughter in the process.
And for the record, it still scares me to death to put my words out there – but I do it anyway.
If you want to read the first four prompts you can visit my Instagram page here.