What exactly is the power of photography? We all have seen timeless images that take you to a different place and raw images that stir abandoned emotions. Those may not be the reactions you feel while looking at family photos, but there is something even stronger at work.
David and I were going through and organizing old files on our external hard drives. We came across a lot of photos from 2006 and decided to stop and look at them. Now keep in mind that the year 2006 had no particular connotation in our heads. Scrolling through cute photos of the kids, we came across two events. The first was Grant’s (our son) hospital stay after an almost fatal illness.
In 2006, all four of us had battled a terrible cold, but Grant just wasn’t getting better. He became extremely lethargic, incoherent, and could not follow simple commands. We rushed him to the emergency room and after a many bewildered nurses and doctors tried to figure out what was going on, one doctor walked in and knew immediately. Grant had meningitis, we found out about an hour later that it was bacterial meningitis. The prognosis was IF he survived, he would likely have brain damage and at the very least severe hearing damage.
Grant woke up the next morning with nothing more than a lingering headache. It would take a while for his energy and alertness to return, but it did. We thank the Lord and that wonderful doctor, who diagnosed Grant and started him on antibiotics right away… but he also stayed up the whole night praying for our son. The next two and a half weeks would be spent in the hospital, as they pumped medicine through an IV right into Grant’s heart.
My memories of this event had always centered around the fear and sadness that I felt before he was well, but coming across these photos has changed that. Yes, I know he was healed and that is a joyous and miraculous thing. Now I have these vivid images replanted into my memory, reminding me of all the good. That silly boy, who LOVED all the food he got to eat while in the hospital. He must have buzzed the nurses for Jello four times a day. Playing board games and doing his homeschool work without any complaint. That smile.
The second event was our children’s baptism. Grant and Alexis both had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior within the same year. Our church did regular baptisms at Pensacola Beach, so they decided to be baptized on the same day.
The weather was absolutely perfect and we were surrounded by many of our dear friends. David and I were so proud of them and excited for what the future held. I remember, even though I was the one taking photos, that I soaked in every single moment…. or so I thought.
Then I came across two images. One was my grandmother at the edge of the water in a bright pink dress. The other was my grandfather in his straw hat, sitting in a beach chair, camcorder in hand. I had completely forgotten that they were at the baptism and the images brought tears to my eyes. My grandmother has since passed away and my grandfather is nearing the end of his days. The thought of them watching their grandchildren being baptized in that emerald green water brings joy to my heart.
These two events do not change because of the photographs, but my thought is enhanced, fulfilled, and turned back towards the love and joy in life. The power of a photograph can be subtle and yet profound. I am so thankful for my life and thankful for these images that are embers on the fire of my memory.