Have you ever noticed how certain memories tend to lock on and never let go, washing back over us at the strangest of times? Or that even years down the road, some memories still cause our emotions to swell as if the remembered events had just taken place? Or that the potential for really bad news tends to make good news that much sweeter?
Here I am more than five years ago during a visit to Kentucky to spend time with my dear friend, April. Notice that I am smiling as we scrapbook into the wee hours of the morning.
Oh, the smile was genuine, alright. But lurking nearby was something else. Not fear, really, but more of an acceptance that something really awful might be around the corner for my family and me. And if that sounds a bit melodramatic, so be it, but I look at this picture and can still taste the uncertainty I felt during that time.
I came to some important conclusions that weekend, and when I got home I scrapbooked them, too. Obviously this page was not about scrapbook style or design, but about the memories of that incredibly emotional time. (I typed out the journaling below so you don’t have to squint or buy glasses to read it.)
The getaway had been planned a full ten months earlier, so how could I have known what God had in mind for me that weekend? I couldn’t have known that shortly before my trip I would find a problem…or that my doctor would find the same problem without my mentioning it…or that he would order the series of mammograms to determine what was wrong. I couldn’t have known I’d have to spend that weekend waiting…hoping that I could handle whatever the test results showed.
Ten months earlier, the trip had been planned as a way for both of us to get away from it all…to spend a long weekend in another state with only our scrapbook supplies and each other. No jobs, no home schooling, no cooking or cleaning. No husbands, no kids, no deadlines. Just precious, quiet time to relax, listen to music, eat junk, scrapbook, shop, and catch up on each others’ lives.
Although I hadn’t planned to spend that weekend waiting and wondering, the trip was just what I needed. Not only did it provide the blessing of diversion, it taught me some lessons I hope I never forget.
Here is what I learned in Kentucky:
1. Everything is going to be OK. And, even if it’s not, well…everything will be OK. Really.
2. The family I so much needed a break from is made up of the people most important to me. I began to truly look forward to whatever time I had left with them.
3. Friends and friendship deserve so much more time and effort than I tend to give them. Having a friend to pray with is an indescribable gift.
4. Laughter really is the best therapy. We laughed, and cried, and laughed until we cried. There is something so cleansing, so rejuvenating, about a long, deep, belly laugh.
I must admit…when we began this little photo shoot on the last day of our trip, I couldn’t help but wonder if these would be the last photographs we would ever take together. After all, as I was being reminded, who ever knows how much time they have left? I found myself being so thankful for the precious time we had spent together and the fun memories we had made. As we posed together, I felt sentimental and nostalgic and blessed.
Yet it didn’t take long for the serious poses to give way to fits of laughter. What started it? Absolutely no idea. How long did it go on? Not sure, but just look at how red my face and chest were!
I will never be able to look at this picture without smiling, or even laughing out loud. Thanks to a friend who was wise enough to keep shooting pictures even after we’d completely lost our composure, a moment was captured that I never want to forget. A moment where I knew that regardless of all the uncertainties of the future, I could still live in the moment…and laugh.
Here are just a few more pictures (all by Connie Vernon–THANK YOU, CONNIE!) from the gazillion we took that weekend. Note the progression of our facial expressions and posture, from serious and contemplative to hysterical and out of control. Love. That. Memory.
“…and she smiles at the future.” ~Proverbs 31:25