I think I have finally finished purging my photos. When I started this project, I never realized how involved it could get, but, at long last, I have the kids picture and card boxes all organized, complete with their names on them. When the time arrives for them to come on in and dismantle our home after we are gone, they will not have to go through boxes of old photos and decide who gets what. They just need to collect the boxes with their names on them and bring them to their homes with them. As for the OLD, old photos, going back a couple of generations, I have asked Andrea for permission to appoint her the family historian and she agreed. So, it is all done now. Hallelujah!
I was very tired when I went to bed last night, yet my mind was spinning forward at warp speed. I laid there thinking about my life and how quickly it has all gone by, REALLY quick when one looks back! One thought that came to me, while in the process of sorting these pictures, is that I have had a mini-life review, similar to what they say happens after you die. Of course, it was minus the life lessons we are told we will see, but going over a lifetime of pictures has you reliving all those events all over again. It makes me wonder about all the time we took out of our life to take the photos, have them developed, put them into albums, only for them to be sitting on a shelf ever since, seldom perused.
It was fascinating looking at photos of a time when we were so young and handsome, where we didn’t realize the beauty of our youth. It was fun to look at photos of our first house, our first baby, and our brand spanking new life. Such optimists we were, and at the time, life felt like it was going to go on forever…..or at least close to it. Now, as I see my life neatly separated, cataloged, tucked away in boxes, and set back on a shelf, I realize that the years ahead for adding to to the card and picture boxes are really not all that many. If 65 years has gone by this fast, then how quickly will the next 5 or 10 or 20 or however many I have left? In a flash, I say to myself, in a flash!!!
One of my favorite books of the bible is Ecclesiastes. I remember reading it when we were living in Sioux Falls, S.D. as if for the first time. Maybe it was the first time I read it in its entirety? I remember thinking as I was reading this ancient mans thoughts and feelings how we humans never really change. The era’s we live in change, our code of dress changes, our customs and lifestyles change, but the human heart never changes. This man, in ancient times was questioning his life. He was asking many of the same questions we ask ourselves today in modern times as we look back and realize that our lifetime of dreams, aspirations, and accomplishments are coming to an inevitable end, and we find ourselves pondering the way we spent our time. We realize, so late in the day, that the things we thought were important, really aren’t so important after all.
What has always been said is as true today as it ever has been. Love is the most valuable of life’s gifts. In the end, I am sure my gratitude will be for any love that I have experienced in my lifetime and the love that surrounds me then. I will cherish the feeling of being loved much more than any treasure I may have accumulated in life. Actually, the REAL treasure was with me all along anyway. The treasure? Love! It began with the love of my parents and grandparents and the family of my youth, followed by the love of my husband and children and grandchildren. Throw into that mix the love of very good friends and the care and concern of casual friends. What do we want to feel as we slip away from this life? Love!
So, as I close my picture books, and tuck away many years of greeting cards, I am fully aware that my future is much shorter than my past, I make a promise to myself that I will continue to nurture the love that exists in my life. It is really the one thing that nourishes me and keeps me wanting to remain on this earth. When I leave, I imagine all my departed ones receiving me on the other side, and I imagine myself feeling a heavenly love that is beyond any earthly understanding. For those left behind me? The ones who love me most will have my boxes of photos and cards as a reminder of all the love they gave to me while I was here. They will be very surprised to realize that they loved me better than they ever realized and I thank them for that!