Updated: Nov 28, 2019
Pictures capture memories and moments, but the memory we see in the picture is not always the moment the people in the picture were in at the time of the picture.
Each of the pictures in this post were taken in 2015 between September and December. Let me give you a little context for the memory of each picture.
In the first picture in the upper left hand corner my wife and I were visiting the last day of the family reunion on my dads side of the family. We didn’t get to go for the weekend, but had a chance to swing in to fellowship with family. Growing up I didn’t spend a lot of time with my dads side of the family so it is always good when I have a chance to visit with them.
The second picture is while my wife and I were out at Cascade Park to take in the Tallahassee Nights Live show. It was a great performance and we had never gone to one before. A fellow member of our church performed and it was our first time seeing her in that light.
In the third picture I decided to create an intimate moment for my wife and I to connect. It was a candlelight dinner on the front porch with her favorite seafood and a hamburger steak and potatoes for me. The kids were involved in helping me prepare before she arrived home from work and left us alone for a couple of hours to enjoy each others company.
In the fourth picture we started the celebration of our 17th anniversary a weekend early by taking in a comedy show in Pensacola. Cedric the Entertainer, Charlie Murphy, DL Hugley, George Lopez and Eddie Griffin performed. My wife sometimes calls me her Cedric and I occasionally am told I resemble him, although I’m not sure about that, but would love to have his bank account.
In the picture after that we spent the day together marking our 17th year of marriage. I think we took in a movie and got pedicures.
In the final picture we were in Destin for a #TeamMarriage couples dinner cruise. We made some new connections and friendships and had the chance to participate in a very interesting conversation.
Now looking at these pictures, what do you see? Each picture was posted on Facebook and here are some of the comments about them:
“Beautiful Picture Fam”
“That’s my FOLKS and a Good Looking couple if I do say so myself”
“Love the energy”
“The two of you make a beautiful couple.”
“Beautiful picture, enjoy the moments, love you all.”
“You guys are a beautiful Unity.”
In the moment the comments were welcome and in many ways encouraging. People took the time out of their time to honor us or mention us and it was helpful. Looking back at those pictures today they do look pretty good, except I knew one truth that the pictures could not reveal. Behind the smiles there was a deep mountain of pain!
All of these pictures were taken while we were in a vicious fight for our marriage. We were in a very unstable place and it was not certain that we would make it to 17 years of marriage, much less be standing here today considering 20 years in a few months if God continues to grace us with life.
Our marriage had undergone great attack prior to 2015 and the truth of the damage was not fully revealed until only a few months before these pictures were taken.
In the pictures you are looking at a couple who was deciding are more years even worth it? There were nights of tears, arguing, cussing, leaving and coming back. Nothing was certain, even God in the hard moments, but he never left our side. Only a handful of people knew that our marriage was damaged and in danger of being over. Divorce was a very real option sitting on our table and it is a word that once out of the bag, not very easy to get back in!
So why make this post? What is the point of it? There are a few things I want to point out about pictures:
From The Outside Looking In
Never judge your present condition based on pictures you see of others, including what you see on TV, because you never know the back story. Unless you have the opportunity to ask the people in the picture is the picture true, then comment and take it for what it is, but don’t use it as your measuring stick. It is possible for a picture to be real, but it does not mean what you see is true.
Don’t forget to encourage people you see in pictures because that picture is but a memory and even if the picture is true, the moment surrounding the memory may be bigger than the memory captured in the picture. With the right backdrop and a smile, a picture presents an excellent mask. Your encouragement could be the thing that pushes them to keep fighting behind the scenes of the memory.
From The Inside Looking Out
When you are in your moments, don’t forsake the opportunity to try to create positive memories. They just may keep you going until you can reach positive moments that match the positive memories. I am not talking about being fake for others. These pictures were not for other people. They represented a chance at hope for a better future together and for a marriage to find hope among the ashes.
The number of years and moments or lack of them does not guarantees happiness or success, but it your committment to make your moments match your memories that will matter the most.
The story of us and how we are still standing is a journey that is still in progress, but each day, even now, our memories (pictures) are matching our moments more and more. You can reach this place. You can get here, but you have to be intentional about the process and how to reach your place. We can help you, but only if you want it because our goal is to help your memories match your moments so that your hope can carry you to an expected end.