a christian perspective on the world today

My Photographic Memory

What would you save if your house caught on fire? I think that men and women would answer that question differently. Maybe men would save practical things such as the bank account records, where as women would be more converned about items with sentiental value—such as the children. My wife has already told me to save our photographs. Unfortunately, we have so many albums that it’s going to take me several trips. And I know I’ll end up trying to convince the fireighters that I must  go back into the burning building one more tim to rescue a framed picture of my mother-in-law.

We take a lot of photos. This is what we do in place of having functioning memory. Let’s say that we’re having a wonderful holiday at the beach. I know that my brain will take the memories from the holi- day and file them in the same place as my computer passwords, thereby ensuring that I’ll never recall them again. But if I take pictures, my wife and I can look at them years later and ask, “When were we at the beach? And who’s that person with their arm around us?”

Now, if you’re really serious about remembering the sun-dappled joys of each passing day, get a video cam- era. I’ve been busy documenting my life for several years and, as of today, have accumulated 68 hours of home video. It consists mostly of people opening Christmas presents and a fascinating tour of the footpaths of Disney World when I forgot to switch off the camcorder.

I guess Lori and I have some kind of vague notion that when we move into a nursing home, we’ll want to get out the videos and fondly remember the past. But when the time comes, I think we’ll prefer to watch Days of Our Lives with the rest of the residents.

But it’s hard to find any ambulatory person who will sit still for a home video. Force your friends to watch 40 minutes of shaky footage from your visit to the Museum of Didgeridoos, and the next thing you know, they’ve all got caller ID and the relationship is over. Of course,

if you have a video that shows you getting smacked in the head with a golf ball, that’s a different story.

Perhaps a better way to share your memories is to iron your photos onto T-shirts. Wear a new one to the office each day, and by March, your workmates will have seen all the highlights of your Fijian cruise.

It’s hard to comprehend that not so very long ago, people didn’t have photographs. If your mother said you were a pretty baby, nobody could produce evidence that you really looked like a chubby Marty Feldman. Also, your children could never make fun of the clothes you used to wear.

On the other hand, you couldn’t see how happy you were as a child playing on the merry-go-round or how beautiful your grandmother looked at her wedding. There are reasons to capture these moments that pass so quickly. No wonder we would want to save them from a burning building.

If we feel that way about pictures of people, imagine how God feels about the people themselves. Right now, His Spirit is working to draw each of us into His kingdom. If you think He’s going to wait for a fire to save us, you would be wrong. 

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