Her long blonde hair, feathered on top, stopped just past her collarbone. A ring on our left hand peeked out and caught the light in one of the pictures.
She had desperately wanted to wear jewelry for the pictures, “the real stuff,” she had said. So, I slipped a ring off of my own finger and placed it on hers. It was the engagement ring her father gave me when we were first married. I had received another ring only a couple of years later so it was no big deal to let her wear the old one. Oh, but to her, it was something. She kept staring at it and when the camera flashed she made sure that the ring was clearly visible.
I took a long look at my own face. It was only a week ago but it felt like decades. I looked so young, but now, at only 28 I felt so old. I felt so warn, so dry, so brittle. I felt at every moment I was just catching my breath only to have it knocked out of me again - buoyed up only by my wavering faith. Those eyes, what they were about to see. My cheeks, the tears that would soon cover them. The smile, that would so quickly be slapped away. I would never be the same.
They would never be the same.
None of us would ever be the same.
Then, I stood, without even fully comprehending what I was about to do. I walked from wall to wall, removing every last picture of Dawn, every portrait, every snapshot. They stacked higher and higher in my arms until I could hold no more and my walls were obscenely naked. I found a box on the back porch next to the washing machine and just dropped them inside. Next I laid the new pictures, now back in their envelope, on top of the pile. I kicked the box to a far corner and tossed an old blanket on top.
Done. We weren’t the same and I no longer wanted to be reminded of what Dawn used to look like. What our smiles used to mean. I was starting over as best I knew how and it started here, on the back porch, next to a cardboard box, an old blanket and a rusty washing machine.
It would be a long time before those pictures would ever come back out of that box. They would never be hung.
Words, photographs, paintings, and sculptures are symbols of what you see, think, and feel things to be, but they are not the things themselves.
When tragedy threatens to steal her first born Lynn finds herself reliving every disappointment, every heartache, every loss, and every layer of guilt from her past. Pain upon pain twists its way around her heart leaving little room for anything but the bitter taste of anger and hate. But God isn’t done. He has hope, miracles and redemption in store. If only she dare see it.