Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Boy In The Box And The Bigger Picture

I'm on Spring Break and looking for something to write about tonight. With a little extra time on my hands, I went scrolling through some old pictures and came upon this one. My guess is that my Grandpa Hawley took it because he took most of the old photos we have. Also, Dad is in the shot as is Mom, who I never saw hold a camera in her life. That's me in the apple box. Dave is in the right hand corner with eyes glued to the camera. It's a church get together in Brooklyn, I know that much. I'm not sure the location but no furniture looks familiar so I don't think it was at the Hawley house. The only thing I'm relatively sure of is that I am four or less as that is when our family packed up and moved to the Great Plains, to the small town of York, Nebraska.

Well, truthfully, there are several other things I'm sure of as I look back at this snippet of time. One is that I know no one in the picture that I'm not related to. Dad was the preacher so I assume all the others were members of our congregation. There's more kids than grownups in the room which I believe is the harbinger of a strong future. I know the brothers and sisters dressed up more than we do these days. The adults are standing or sitting in chairs while the children are on the floor.... or in an apple box in one case!  No video games or phones are distracting anyone in the group. There's also only one song book in use so my assumption is that an old standard is being sung, something along the line of Hark, The Voice Of Jesus Calling or Lead Me To Some Soul Today. I grew up singing, just not singing very well.

But there are a few more telltale signs of personality I see in this long ago portrait. One is that Dad, who was BIG into being on time, is checking his watch while singing praises! Another is that Mom is wearing flowers while worshiping- we weren't rich but she did the best she could fashion-wise as a preacher's wife. Mom also was so happy when singing hymns, even when the Alzheimer's took the rest of her mind and you can see that glow on her face. Dave is looking directly into the lens of the camera and smiling. No surprise there as he is an extrovert without any traces of shyness. That leaves me, the king of the apple crate. I've never enjoyed having my picture taken and it showed up even at this tender age. I'm not looking away but I'm not thrilled, either. I've had very few posed pictures of myself that I've liked in my life although there are some spontaneous ones I'm content with. (It also looks like my eyes are brown but I assure you they are blue!) Why the seating accommodation? Who knows why that box would be in the living room in the first place but my thought is that I just beat the other kids to the spot.  Something about boys and boxes!

If I would poll my reading audience tonight, I think a number of you, maybe most, would consider this entry boring, trivial minutia which is a redundancy if there ever was one. My point would be that too often we don't get past the surface of things. I find my students, the ones who have learned the Scriptures before, have never really dug into the stories which make up the Gospels. There is so much more that render the parables understandable, the characters sympathetic in some cases and jerks in others, and lets the miracles come alive in more than just the physical resurrection of Lazarus. I'm constantly amazed when I teach by what I haven't seen before, a detail or observation which clarifies situations and missions. I could see stuff in that picture that you wouldn't the way the apostles would have insights which we haven't fathomed. But it doesn't happen by osmosis. We have to search and ponder and search again. Our view changes and deepens when we move past the apple box perspective of a four year old child. At least, we should hope it does.

Applicable quote of the day:
“A photograph is usually looked at- seldom looked into.” 
 Ansel Adams

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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