Dave and I just got home from a fabulously fun time with some delightfully wonderful friends in the mountains of southeastern Idaho. We frolicked in the winter wonderland, snow shoeing and ice fishing and river fishing and snowmobiling. Eating and playing and singing and talking. Fun can be just so exhausting! (How we suffer.) We stopped off at Reed and Cindy's on the way home and gobbled and gabbed for a while, so now it's late. I unpacked my suitcase and slipped into my PJ's, forcing myself to walk into the study so I can keep the commitment I made to write every day of Lent. I shuffled through the door and plunked myself into one of the side chairs as Dave tried to figure out why my computer would not sign in to the Internet. I moaned about wanting to just veg out (it has, after all, been such a grueling weekend!). I just don't feel like pondering, let alone writing about it.
My commitment this year is to use pictures from my iPhone and my computer photo library as the basis for what I write.
"I'm just going to find a random meaningless picture." I said to Dave. "One that won't tax my brain or my heart."
"Good luck with that one," he responded.
So I have pulled up my photos and perused a few files, most of them filled with snapshots of people I love. So I aimed for the inanimate, and here's what I found:
This is our old silver Odyssey van. I'm not sure why this photo was taken. It's kind of random, but it is not meaningless. This vehicle served our family for almost a decade. It carried our teenage daughters to ball games, hauled Young Women to Girls Camp, transferred furniture and other household goods from Salt Lake to Houston when Kate moved there. It pulled a U-Haul trailer from Farmington to Kansas City, our little Timo sitting in his car seat in the back, singing along with us as we drove. This old van opened her passenger door and welcomed my mother for daily drives to random places like the 5 Hour Store or up Ogden Canyon. It has found its way out through the Idaho desert, its back section filled with fishing gear. It has hauled many meals from our house to Grams for family dinners. We have a new Odyssey van now. A shiny white one. The silver one became overstuffed with memories. My brother owns that silver van now and he's filling it with his antique clocks and guitars and music gear. I believe if cars can feel good about filling the measure of their creation then this one is happy.
Nope, this is not a random meaningless photo. I'll keep looking.
Let's see...here's a fairly benign photo from my camera:
You may think it's just a plain old door. But it's not. It's the front door to the little old house on 200 East where our daughter Sarah lived while she attended medical school. My girls and I stood in that little entry way and peeled nine layers of wallpaper off the walls. One at a time we stripped away decades of life from those plaster walls, all the way back 100 years. We added that fresh lower layer of white clap board and painted the upper walls a nice relaxing green. It looked so fresh against that crisp white. Our little boy, the first of our grandchildren, was carried through this door in his mother's arms, and when he left to go with his parents to Kansas City for her medical residency, he scurried out in front of his mama, who was carrying a new baby girl. When he could finally walk Timo peeked up through that window out to the street to see if Gram and Libby had driven to Salt Lake for a visit, and when they pulled up he burst out through the door, across the sidewalk and the lawn, under the large shade tree and into Grams lap. She won him over with Cheez Its and sips of Coke. These old gum wood trim doorways framed a precious time of my daughter's life, and therefore an important part of mine. This is not a meaningless photo.
OK, one more shot at scanning the library for a meaningless picture.
Aha! Here we go!
I'm not sure what this is. But I do know it's our yard. And those are our shovels. I can tell you that the hands of the man I love have used those shovels a lot! And I know he dug that hole. And for some reason he took a picture so he would remember where some sprinkler head is or something like that. I can hear my Dave out there, on that piece of ground under our bedroom window. I hear him shoveling in the early hours of a Saturday morning, while I am drifting up out of my dream state. I hear the pounding of the shovel head as it pierces the ground, I hear the scrape and the heft and the dumping of the dirt against the chorus of morning birds in the trees that fill the hollow there to the right of the curb. I think how blessed I am to have, as the love of my forever, a man who rises happily on a Saturday morning...his only day off really, and joyfully labors at chores that seem to oppress others. These inanimate objects, a pair of well used shovels, are full of meaning.
I am sorry to say that among the thousands of photos that are stored on this computer there is not a single picture that does not carry some memory, some inspiration, some good humor. I guess I am not really sorry to say that. I'm grateful. Though I am...still... tired.