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When my parents passed away in 2013, I had a lot of boxes, furniture, and “memories on film” to go through.  “Memories on film”/photos.  In this new world of digital photos stored in a chip the size of a thumbnail, it is overwhelming to go through the thousands of “hard-copy” photos kept for generations and say, ”What should I keep?  Which ones DON’T I have?  What will mean something to MY children?” and “They’re only photos…is it worth the trouble and money to keep them?”

I had to set a standard, a formula, for deciding what to keep:

  1. If the photo doesn’t have a PERSON in it I’m not keeping it. (Sorry, Mom, all those photos from the thousands upon thousands of road trips to historic markers around the country are now “dust in the wind”)
  2. If I already have a copy…the photo is toast.
  3. If I don’t know who the people are and Mom didn’t write their names on the back…they’re gone.
  4. If I know who the people in the photos are, but don’t care…they’re trashed.
  5. If they are embarrassing photos of me, they are treated as if they never existed. (Editing history is a wonderful thing.)

Of course, as the Estate Sale coordinator reminded me, “almost everything is worth something to someone”.  So, I found myself in the strange, ironic and “sermon-illustrative” position of removing photos from frames and preserving the frames for sale, eliminating the photos, or keeping them (according to the above-mentioned criteria), BECAUSE, as important as our images are, they are sometimes worth nothing to anyone but us.

The frames that surround us can be traded, bought, and sold.

As I’ve been on a trip this last week, taking photos to remind me of place, people, and moments – I stopped and thought about the fact that I can’t sell photos that carry thoughts and deep memories. They are, in some cases, all I have left of a life that lived and walked next to me.  But the frames, THEY were worth something to someone else, and would frame other photos and other memories…people would purchase those.

And so, LESSONS I have learned from “FRAMES”:

  1. A person who would choose your photo over your frame is a friend worth your investment.
  2. To many people, it is not your essence they are attracted to, it is your frame: your trappings, your accumulations, your “setting” without your frame, some people may not even recognize your photo, and those are people you can do without.
  3. A frame can also be looked at as walls of love that can be passed on to others when the image is gone to a “new frame.”
  4. The frame is the paradigm through which people see us. Different people/paradigms, different frames. Though I am the same, I am not seen the same way by all the people that know me. None of THEM know me completely. Only my Heavenly Father knows me completely, “trans-frame”, and as much as we’d love to know our Heavenly Father, we only know HIM through the frame we have fit HIS image into, carved, created and defined by our limited life experience.

It is an arrogant and misinformed assumption to believe that someone else would see God through the same “frame” as we do.  It is also arrogant and misinformed to believe that if that person DOESN’T see God the same way as we do, THEY are wrong. It could be possible that the image is the same, but the frame is different.

In the end, I thank my Heavenly Father that I grew up in this place, had wonderful parents, friends and family to surround and teach me – people who helped create my “frame”.  But LIFE moves forward, one frame is exchanged for another, and that is a good thing.  One day ALL frames will be removed, and only our image/essence and God’s image/essence will live. Paradigms will shift once and for all, pretense will end, and Truth will be the Word of the day.

For now, we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face.
Now I know in part, but then I will know fully,
as I am fully known.
Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.