I saw the truck driver out of the side of my eye from the sidewalk. He was unloading boxes. I shot him a side-smile, halfway knowing he’d get a kick watching me position my kids just right. It was going to be the Fall picture of all Fall pictures, mostly because the backdrop looked autumn-genius – pumpkins, mums and hay looked like artwork. C’mon, this was it! I balked at the beauty. Truck-man didn’t smile back; he just glared.
So, when he approached me, I got scared.
“Do you want to be in the picture with the kids?”
I sized him up all wrong.
You can’t measure a heart in a split-second.
Here he was: a good man breaking out of his timeline of delivering food to deliver us the perfect picture. I appreciated it. Did he know how badly I wanted things to feel perfect? How I wanted my kids to experience the warmth of this season? How I wanted them to see the colors and value in change? How I wanted to know – and remember – I was a good mother?
This picture, I imagined, would be the ones the kids gathered around. It was going to be me- looking cute and them – looking happy. It was going to be me – bringing them places they would love. It was going to be them – full of joy.
No one was going to forget it. Pictures are memorials of good times. And, random picture-takers are angels.
I shoved daughter up on the hay. She hated it. I pushed her up on a pumpkin. She toddler-cursed the seat. No matter where this angel-trucker stood – left, right, center – I sighed, there was just no money shot. Daughter was done with it. So was I.
Why is it whenever I try to orchestrate good, it goes bad?
And, why do good acts of service so often fail?
Not only did I feel let down, but I felt like I wasted someone else’s time. I burdened him for nothing. Guilt arrived.
What is your dream shot? Maybe it looks entirely different than expected?
Maybe you look odd? Less than? Or, maybe you feel guilty for wasting people’s time?
Embarrassed? Or, scared, even?
Sometimes, things just pan out – weird, ugly and wrong. And, what you’re left with are images blurred, skewed or haphazard. Ones that catch you with your eyes closed or with a double chin. They show the hatable things.
…The LORD does not look at the things people look at… (1 Sam. 16:7)
What we look at worthless, God calls worthy…
Our picture is earthly, but God’s is eternal. So, while we see a snip-it, God sees more. He sees past the clothes, the facades and the faces, straight to the heart. He sees all the images lined up, like framed pictures on a wall going up the stairs. He sees our growth, our progress and our love expanding. The pictures please him.
We can’t always see from his view. That’s our real problem…
We don’t see much. We see the here, the now, the tears and the Pumpkin-fits. God sees the gallery in the Museum of his Faithfulness. He sees how the image of mourning gives way to joy 3 steps ahead. He sees how the grief gives way to gladness a couple feet beyond. He sees how mayhem will work itself into peace when his love develops.
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness... Ps. 30:11
Today, I am encouraged to know beyond the externals, God cares far more about the picture of the internals.
I am encouraged to remember there is a vision to the pictures of my life.
I am encouraged to focus my lens on eternity.
With the filter of eternity, in this picture I see:
- We are all fighting to find our seat in life.
Sometimes we just need another to come behind us to say it is okay to not know because God does.
- There is no perfect picture unless you zoom in on Jesus.
- What appears like a bad shot will be glorious, tomorrow.
And, with this, I smile and know – that picture I took? It is a memorial. It’s a marker of imperfection, an image of my growth and a pointer to the glory that awaits. I’ll hold it close and look back on it fondly.