“A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” (Job 14:5 NIV)
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Ps. 139:16 NIV)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)
I don’t own a camera anymore. Yes, I know my computer has one and my daughter is constantly taking pictures and filming little movies with her smart phone. I am talking about those old stand alone cameras that we all used to have. I am even so old that I can remember taking a roll of film over a period of weeks, mailing it out, and then waiting another two weeks to get the pictures back. And half of them were either overexposed by the sunlight or all of us had red eyes in them from the flash on the camera. I can also remember when we finally saved up enough money to get a Polaroid camera. It was a joy clicking the camera and having a photo ready in only a minute. Even then, though, we only used it on special occasions.
These days everything seems to be filmed, saved, and posted online. I wonder why that is? Maybe a part of it is that we all want to stop, freeze, and preserve these moments in time that fly by so fast. I know that sometimes I do. Just the other day I was looking through some dusty, old photo albums from my childhood. In one there was a picture of me just a few years old, laughing, and playing in my front yard. How I longed to go back in time to that moment, see my Mom’s smiling face and be held in my Nana’s loving arms once more. Still, I know this moment does live on in my heart, and one day we will all be together again.
The truth is as hard as we try we can’t stop time. We can’t freeze it. We can’t film it. And we can’t post it online. All the photos in the world can’t keep it in place. Perhaps it is best then to really live our lives instead of just filming them. Perhaps it is best to smile with joy instead of smiling for a photograph. God, after all, only gives us so many days here on Earth. We need to spend them loving each other. We need to spend them helping each other. We need to spend them in the light of God not the light of a camera.
Joseph J. Mazzella