Monday, March 5, 2012

Trapped in 3x5s (Slice 5)

So I've come back from a mission trip to Jamaica, and lots of wonderful people gave me their financial and prayerful support, and I am incredibly grateful to those people, and want to give them a full report of how amazing the trip was, and how much we saw God work in ourselves and in the people we worked with. But I really don't like summarizing a trip in photographs.

Don't get me wrong, I think photos are wonderful, and I love going through them--mine or other people's (with them--I'm not that much of a creeper)--but especially when you're so newly back from something so awesome, they seem to stand in stark contrast to reality. (Incidentally, I think this may have been a benefit to the pre-digital age of photography. When I was a kid, you came home from a trip, and desperately packaged up your rolls of film in the paper envelopes at the store, and then waited the ETERNITY of days to see what came out. I know there are innumerable benefits to digital photography, but there's something about the death of anticipation that makes my photos less amazing.)

Case in point: the photo below. And this is just one of the 212 photos I just uploaded to Facebook. Just ONE. You see my problem.
I don't suppose this is such a great photo, just looking at it. It's blurry, and the light is weird, and you don't really know what you're looking at. But this is Derry, Peggy, and Lorna, our "kitchen angels." Not only did they make us three meals a day for nine days, but they sang for us--during the day, and even at night, when they could have finally gone home and escaped the 28 Americans who had descended on their existence. They sang for us in beautiful, spontaneous harmony. They were wonderful singers, but it was more than that--they sang out of joy, out of freedom from their pasts and their pain, out of marveling in a God who cared for them. 

I love this picture because it's so clearly not reality--the light is brighter than it should be, forms are unclear. Reality wouldn't have done it justice, because we weren't dealing with reality when they sang. We got a teaser for heaven from them everyday, and I'm okay that I didn't perfectly capture them as they really are on this earth. It's likely that I won't see these ladies again until I hit heaven's door, and when I do, this is what I'll look for: light, and joy, and raised hands.


  1. I think it's magnificent that you posted a photo of the "kitchen angels." It sounds like they did important work, just like you did, when you were there.

  2. Man, I know what you mean about the rolls of film era. I remember taking 7 rolls of pictures when I went to Italy in 10th grade (as my sister is about to do in a few weeks). 7 times 24 is 168; I bet that I would take way more than that with a digital camera, just because I can. But that doesn't mean that more is better. Sometimes, more is just more. I wonder how many fewer pictures I'd have of Ruby if I were still on the old "roll" system. I think I'd have a lot fewer and sometimes better ones. I know, I know: you can always delete digital ones, and I do, but not as often, because they seem too precious. After all, they are pictures of my KID! I think the digital age makes it harder to be selective. I also remember going through and comparing photos with my friends and making lists of which ones we wanted reprints of. Now I'd just say, "Ooh, can you email me that one?" Easier, but still, there's something I miss about the old days. However, I do NOT miss taking five or six pictures of random things just to use up a roll so I can get to whatever it is that I wanted to get to on the rest of the roll. My mom had rolls of film that encompassed years at a time because she didn't go in for the random picture taking (and didn't bust out the camera that much, apparently). Thanks for sharing, you got my brain all fired up on this topic that people even a decade younger will not understand because they've grown up digitized.