“If it’s time to go, remember what you’re leaving. Remember the best.”
~ Eleven ~ Doctor Who
We stand in the airport,
water in our eyes,
hands raised in farewell,
arms aching to hold them one last time.
Staring through the glass windows, we watch their plane soar into the sky, wondering why miles have to separate us from the ones we love.
Jack Kerouac captured the sentiment real well:
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks disappearing?–it’s the too-huge world vaulting us,
and it’s good-bye.”
So we strain to catch that last glimpse of their plane as it knifes through the sky, of their car as it vanishes around the bend at the end of the street, of their back as they walk out of our life, sometimes for the last time.
I said good-bye to some lovely humans back in the Autumn of 2019.
I wish I’d taken photos with them before I left ’cause I’ll probably never see most of them again & that regret makes my soul ache like you wouldn’t believe. That’s why now I take photos of everything, of Moments, of my favourite humans no matter how much they protest or think it’s weird & uncomfortable.
‘Cause I’ve already begun to forget the lines in Mikhail’s face when he smiled at the Keurig.
I’ve already begun to forget the sound of Liza’s black heels against the carpeted office-hallway.
I’ve already begun to forget the shenanigans we’d get up to in The Office & the laughter and frustration.
I’ve already begun to forget Sheila’s freckles & Toby’s dark hair & Kristoff’s voice & Kenobi’s cheery “good morning” and “good night” & Seamus’ ever-present Joy & the way Ellissa would fill in her eyebrows & the mediocre coffee that wormed its way into my heart & the broken heating & the food & the nail gun incident & the conversations &
I’ve already begun to forget how The Office showed me what it means to be brave…& that makes me scared.
‘Cause I don’t ever want to forget those Moments in my life. Moments when the Most High taught me lessons I needed to learn. Moments when He carried me through some of the darkest days of my life and landed me safely on the other side.
I don’t ever want to forget His faithfulness and goodness, despite the inevitable good-byes.
& photos are tangible reminders of days gone by; days that are slowly but surely fading into mere memory.
Memory skews things, makes fools of us all, & it’ll have us thinking our darkest days were all there were; or that our golden days are never coming back.
It’ll have us swearing that good-byes are permanent, that things never come ’round and people never return and old haunts will remain haunts, unreachable and remote, never to be visited again.
But photos are Ebenezers, as a Kindred Spirit of mine once said. They’re reminders of Truth, ’cause we humans have a nasty habit of forgetting what ought to be remembered and remembering what ought to be forgotten.
“Here is a photograph. It’s a small window. You look through the ink into the past, into the Joy, into the memory, and the merrymaking that once occurred.
We string these windows up around our homes to remind us, on the very hard days, that there is Beauty despite the brokenness, Hope at the end of the bleak night, and something greater worth fighting for.
These windows are Ebenezers. Photographers are believers; creators who want to spread light and joy into a memory. We are beauty-fighters, truth-tellers. And this is why we make.”
~ Liz Sanders
So keep taking photos, lovely humans. Keep capturing things that should never be forgotten.
‘Cause the Jack Kerouac quotation doesn’t end where I ended it. It ends with this:
“So we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
Good-byes aren’t permanent ’cause there’s more life to be lived.
It’s that over-used yet poignant book metaphor: the pages turn but the story continues; the chapters end but there’s still more life to be lived.
& we need reminders of His faithfulness to help us with the life that still needs living. We need Ebenezers to carry us through, reminders that our small stories (even with all the closing chapters) are always and forever part of the Great Story which goes on and on
& in which, every chapter is better than the one that came before (hey CS Lewis hey)
We’ve got more crazy ventures beneath the skies, lovely humans, so don’t stay in the Wilderness;
there’s more Life to be lived & we won’t truly live it craning our necks behind us in search of something we’ve lost,
but we also won’t truly live it with blinders on either.
Being Alive means embracing it all & getting comfortable in those grey areas of non-closure and lingering pain and joys cut short too soon. ‘Cause good-byes will always be a part of our existence in this middle-earth but photographs are our Ebenezers:
reminders that the same God of our past is still here with us in our present & His goodness is still blazing a trail of Hope through this Darkness 🖤
:: a few of my favourite quotations from my time at The Office ::
“Fake parfaits are the enemies of a good & righteous people.”
“Do I amuse you?”
“Yes, yes you do, actually.”
I don’t even remember who said them but I clearly found them hysterical enough to write down 😂 P.S. If you have no idea what The Office is (it’s not the TV show 🙂 ), then head over to the tab on my homepage entitled The Office Shenanigans Series. The story’s all there 🙂
:: we’re in a War, my friends, and we all need Courage on the Front Lines 🖤 ::