Today wasn’t my usual work day. Instead of processing all of the invoices, keying entries, writing checks and handling things in Accounting, I was sent out to help the family of this company that I work for. It seems that the elderly gentleman in the family has been moved to a retirement/assisted living home. This gentleman once owned the company but passed it down to the next generation who has now passed it down to the next generation as well. While I did not have the pleasure of working with this now elderly gentleman, I have heard a lot about him through the years since I did work for this family owned company. I have worked with and for this elderly gentleman’s son as well as now working for his grandsons.
What could this family possibly need my help with outside of work in the office? Since the elderly gentleman has moved, his home is no longer occupied so his son and grandsons have been going through his belongings in an effort to downsize and eventually sell the home. While going through his things, the family stumbled upon moments in time that were captured in the form of pictures, letters, poems, postcards, and cards. It is their desire to preserve these things, thus the reason they called me to help scan in all of these memories.
I will be honest and say that this hasn’t been an easy task today as there are a LOT of things to scan in. I will literally be at this for days on end, and I’m not even sure I’ll be finished after the three days they’ve asked me to commit to for this project. Greg recently wrote about capturing pictures and how he jokingly refers to me as The Picture Queen, but honestly, I think this gentleman (or his wife) have me beat! They had so many photo albums and scrapbooks piled high for me to scan! You can look at it like there’s so much work, how will I ever get through this … OR you can look at it like a privilege to be allowed to be a part of preserving cherished memories! I am choosing to view it in that light. It changes everything when you change your view of things. It truly does make a difference.
And so I set out on my journey of preserving memories.
I came across pictures of this family through the years, which is honestly what I had expected when I started. However, I came across things that thrilled and fascinated me completely, too!
A lot of the information written on the pages of the scrapbooks and photo albums were written in German! Since the pages were literally falling apart in my hands, I had to take each picture off of the page and place it carefully onto the glass of the scanner. I also had to write a caption taken from the words written on the scrapbook pages and place it on the glass of the scanner as well so the family would be able to identify with the people, places, and things in the pictures when they take a walk down memory lane by going through all of these files after I’ve completed this task.
In addition to the pictures, there were pages of poems that were also written in German, as well as letters … oh the letters that this individual wrote and received! There were cards mixed in as well, but it was the letters that struck me the most. The date was written so eloquently at the top, almost in Calligraphy. I remember sitting back in the chair marveling at this dirty piece of paper when I realized the date across the top! It was the year 1918. I’m not kidding you. That was one of the dates in the papers that I scanned today. Isn’t it amazing that I held a piece of history in my hands? While I’m not sure what those German words were saying, I can imagine in my mind a love letter just pouring their hearts out to the love of their lives; their soul mates. I can imagine the letters being written during a war as they were clinging to the other person miles and states away while they served our country. While they were facing the enemy head on with their weapons and fighting for their lives and our freedom, they paused for a moment to share their written words with the one that they loved with their entire being. And I … I had the privilege of preserving these moments today!
There was an artist in the family as I found numerous drawings from this individual. One drawing in particular caught my eye as I reached for the clipping out of the magazine. Just as I reached to place it on the glass, the drawing from underneath it was revealed. In all of it’s beauty and glory, there was the picture that this individual had drawn based on the clipping from the magazine. This person had talent! I smiled as I marveled at every line from his pencil, the way it was shaded in and how smoothly it transitioned into the next line to form the perfect picture!
Why am I telling you all of this today? Because one of these days someone will be going through OUR things to see what treasures we have left behind. Will our families wish to preserve our memories? Will our families soak in all of the beauty and wonder of journals that we have left behind, or will they cringe at the words that jump off of the page at them? Will they consider it an honor to read your words, thinking of them as simply beautiful, passionate, and so full of life? Or will they close the book never to open it again?
One of these days we are all just going to be a memory … will you be a good one? I certainly hope that my family and friends will remember me with such a warm feeling in their hearts and feel that I’ve touched their lives in a good and positive manner when my time on earth is no more and I’ve gone to be with Jesus. I hope that they will search my house for treasures left behind in the form of poems, hand written letters, and yes, pictures … lots and lots of pictures. I hope they will cherish them as much as I did while penning them or capturing those moments with my camera.
I desire to live a good life and show my family and friends how much they mean to me. I don’t want to reserve this for a special occasion to tell them “then” of how I feel. No, I want to live it to the fullest each and every day not letting a single minute go by without them knowing in their hearts how I feel about them. I want them to know … and I want them to FEEL it! Long after I’m gone, I want them to still feel me with them in their hearts … I want to love that strongly, that completely, that passionately that they forever feel me with them and a part of their lives.
This gentleman traveled the world … literally. There were two photo albums packed full of postcards from different places that he had traveled. They weren’t pictures of where he’s been that he’d taken, but instead, they were postcards of these places. Yet, the memories those postcards provoked in him … I’d like to imagine that they still stir in him to this very day. He lived his life. He did the things his heart desired and the proof is within all of the pages of these photo albums and scrap books. He lived … he loved … he did as his heart desired.
Are you living your life to the fullest? There’s so much out there to do and see. Are you doing the things that bring you the most joy? Are you seeing new and exciting places? Are you engaging in things that your heart desires, or are you waiting to do it “one day.” Ah dear one, don’t wait … “one day” may never come. Don’t look back with regrets. When you’re older, like this gentleman, don’t sit there and say, “If only I had …” Go out now and DO it so you’ll have beautiful memories to reflect back on later.
Leave your own mark on the world! Leave your loved ones with fond memories of the way we were!