Dear sisters and brothers, we realize the importance of light when we see darkness.—Malala Yousafzai
[one_half padding=”4px 10px 0 4px”]I was up early this morning, reading through the various news accounts of all that has happened in the past twenty-four hours. Even before I kicked myself out of bed, I wondered if I should abandon our theme and speak directly to the tragedies that have taken place. Without a doubt, this is a very solemn morning and it is not inappropriate that we might gather those we hold dear, hug each one tightly, and be thankful for the breath we breathe.
We have been reminded, once again, that tragedy is a severe part of the human existence. Those who are precious to us, whose lives are most dear, can be taken quickly, and it doesn’t take terrorists for that to happen. As I was scrolling through my newsfeed this morning, there was a taste of sadness much more personal and close to home in the small town of Red Oak, Oklahoma, where a dear soul suffered a heart attack and died as the library she managed was robbed. Red Oak is a small town of about 400 people, from where my brother and I graduated high school. The loss of one there is perhaps even more upsetting to that community that the loss of well over a hundred in Paris.
Faces around the world are filled with sadness, anger, and disbelief this morning. For far too many people, pictures of dear ones are now all they have left, underscoring yet again why photographs are so important. Faces of those we love are not faces we wish to ever forget, no matter what happens in the near or distant future. We want to remember the smiles, the laughter, the silliness, the greatness, the beauty, and the uniqueness of those we love. The relatively small price of portraits is irrelevant compared to the value of the memories these pictures hold.[/one_half]
[one_half_last padding=”4px 4px 0 10px”]Kat may throw something at me when she sees the caption under her picture this morning. “Only my dad calls me Katherine,” she’ll likely say. I’ll remind her that I also used the boys’ full names with their pictures earlier in the week and am just being consistent. She will, depending upon the presence of children, toss me a look or a gesture communicating her displeasure, then continue with her reading.
I take many more pictures of Kat than what I post, but of all this year’s portraits this one may be my favorite. I don’t know what anyone else sees, but I look at this photograph and see the face of one who loves to love; not just me, not just her children, but most anyone she meets who isn’t a complete asshole. Here is a face of one who forgives, encourages, sacrifices, and labors for those she holds dear; one who has served her country and values its freedoms. I love this face.
The winds that have plagued Indianapolis the past two days are finally calm. Dear friends in Paris are confirmed safe and well. Children have slept past their typical far-too-early wake-up time. Tragedy and terror and sadness are not going to overwhelm the day here.
Not everyone in the world shares that reality, though, and our heart goes out to those who wake up this morning without the face of that loved one to greet them, whether in Paris, or Red Oak, or anywhere else. Through all that has happened, and whatever might yet come, may we all know Peace, may we all find Hope, and may the faces of those we hold dear bring us Joy.[/one_half_last]