Wednesday, May 18, 2016
I was looking at some pictures of us; some before Joseph pics and some after Joseph pics... (funny how grief causes you to measure life by the before and after). I saw one in particular and immediately heard, ‘that’s a perfect picture.’ In the same instant I turned away from it and said “No, it’s not, it’s incomplete. Joseph is missing.” And then God said, “Just because the picture is incomplete does not mean it's not perfect.” This was April 3rd.
Since then I’ve been struggling with that thought and even mentioned it to my husband the other day. I have been asking the Lord to reveal to me what that could possibly mean, because in my own head it makes NO sense. How could a picture be complete if someone you love is not in it? How could the picture be complete, knowing that Joseph is not here with us?
Anyway, I was reminded of a photo that I saw that a Facebook friend posted of her and her daughter. She is a beautiful young lady around my youngest daughter’s age, and she takes a lot of pictures. But this picture in particular was an absolutely perfect picture, I thought. Though they posed for it, you can tell it was random. Not "set up." You could see the love in her eyes she had for her little girl and the admiration and love the little girl had for her mom. It radiated from the inside.
God spoke this to me. We try so hard to take what we deem a “perfect” picture with our cameras and even with our life. We have to make sure the lighting is right, the setting is perfect, and even how we look, choosing to delete the photos we say are not so good.
Real life isn't like that, though. We are not perfect. We don't always have the right setting or conditions and don't always look the way others think we should (or even ourselves). Sometimes things are just ugly. Sometimes we have blocked the lighting, allowed other things to interfere, or things happen that keep us from smiling so “perfectly.” Pictures are moments frozen in time. An idea captured with the eye of a camera lens. Some of those moments are good, some not so good. And we deem them so or incomplete, because in that moment of time things are just not the way we want them to be.
But if we were to prepare for the picture, the beauty of being who we are on the inside will be lost, the reality of what we are feeling won’t be seen, because the photo has been set up.
God said yes the picture is incomplete, because that is how you see it. But the picture is yet perfect, because perfection (and He had me look this up) is a process or condition where things are presented as faultless as they can POSSIBLY be. Perfection is a state of creation, it is active.
We smiled in the picture. And our smiles may not have been what they were before Joseph, but the love that we have for each other yet radiates from within and that is what makes for a perfect picture.
We as a people, we as a family are not perfect, but the picture that we took, is presented as perfect, because we, in our life after Joseph, in that frozen moment of time, are being as free as we POSSIBLY can be from all the defects in our life. All the things that are not so perfect, having to live without Joseph.
Just because the picture is incomplete, does not mean it’s not perfect (or beautiful). A very hard saying as Peter said, but one I choose to believe and walk in. By faith.
So today, May 18th, as I walk in the shadow of grief, I purpose to live to allow for that random picture (even if it doesn't look too good) and learn to value the moments that are captured that couldn't come out more perfect if I tried.
A servant of the Lord,
All rights reserved.
Joseph Malik Fannell
January 14, 1993-June 5, 2015