They promised to post a picture a day.
Heading out on a two-week long road trip to destinations west, my two youngest sons, Mark and Kevin, acquiesced to my request that they keep in touch by social media while away from their respective homes. I explained my need to hear from them with a favorite quote from Elizabeth Stone: “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” They agreed to take good care of their respective pieces of my heart and to bring them safely home. Yet little did I expect that they would photograph its journey so accurately all along the way.
True to their word, they sent pictures of themselves in various spots, as well as specific shots of incredible beauty or special interest to the family and friends they knew were following their adventure online. But I found that there was more than just their daily photos for me to see. Their hearts were on display in the captions they put with their postings. Even more than the visual delights, it was these heartbeats I saw that so touched my own.
In the early stages of the trip, the pictures that most intrigued me were photographs of patience. With the pressure of a short time frame and a lengthy must-see-and-do list weighing heavy upon him, my older son's postings were yet of his younger brother stopping (repeatedly!) by the side of the road to photograph mountains in the distance or kneeling in the dirt to capture the lengthy shadows cast by a rock, revealing his willingness to indulge his younger brother's photographic passion.
A picture taken at a local restaurant likewise had little to do with the eatery of choice or the food on the table. Instead it showed that while they bypassed the chance to visit with lots of relatives in the interest of keeping to their destination schedule, they made the stop to chat with their grandparents a priority because they knew how much it would mean to their dad as well as to his folks.
And similarly the caption posted with the picture of some dusty bottles on a shelf revealed that the photographer saw the treasure in the man who proudly displayed them rather than in the collection itself. Over and over again, the entries in my sons' photographic journals reflected the heart of the photographers more than the subject the camera was aimed at. It was as if the lens on their cameras had been permanently reversed and they went about taking selfies of their souls.
Unintentionally, we are doing the same.
We, too, are on a journey to a distant land, excited about the road ahead and the adventures to be had. The words that come out of our mouths and the actions that fill our days are likewise posts to a watching Father, reflecting the state of our hearts at each stage of our lives. He was the first to decide to place His own heart within His children, and now He looks to see if we will use or refuse the treasure He's placed within us. May He see us exhibiting love and patience with those around us, keeping His desires a priority in our choices, and appreciating the treasures He has placed all around us until we all make it safely Home.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
II Corinthians 4:7 NKJV