I have a picture of my dad on my wall. The sleeves on his collared shirt are rolled up about three-fourths of the way, as he often wore them. His hands are in his pockets. And he has a huge grin on his face as he peers over the shoulder of my then 10-year-old niece (his granddaughter) who is unwrapping her birthday presents.
The picture captures the essence of who he was – someone who took pleasure in seeing his family happy. When I think about him, this picture comes to mind. I took it just a few weeks before he died unexpectedly. It turned out to be the definitive picture of him (at least for me), even though nobody had any idea that would be the case or that it would be one of the last photos taken of him.
Dad has been gone for twenty-one years now, but seeing that picture every time I make coffee in the morning warms my heart.
I have a picture of my cat, Midnight, on my fridge that my dad took. Her green eyes and long black fur (tinged with gray) shine as she proudly rests in my recliner. I don’t know why Dad took that picture, but I’m so glad he did.
Midnight saw me through a lot in her twenty years, and at the risk of sounding overly sentimental, she felt like a daughter to me (for the non-pet lovers in the audience, I’ll appeal to 2 Samuel 12:3 that describes a poor man who had nothing except an ewe lamb that he raised, grew up with, cradled in his arms, shared his food with, and “was like a daughter to him”).
Midnight has been gone for eleven years, but every time I open my fridge, I see her picture and it warms my heart. The photo that Dad took of her, seemingly at random, turned out to be the definitive picture of her life.
Like you, many of the positive definitive moments I’ve experienced weren’t captured on film. Some are simply memories, and those are equally as powerful.
The funny thing is, definitive moments often occur without our knowing it at the time (although, that’s not always the case, of course). These are our definitive moments. The other person (or animal, in my case) may not even remember them. And that’s okay. Maybe they aren’t supposed to.
Maybe definitive moments are gifts from above that are just supposed to cement something in our memories (that are representative of the way a person made us feel or a moment that is supposed to spur us on during great difficulty) the way the twelve stones on the banks of the Jordan were supposed to remind Israel for generations to come about God’s faithfulness as they entered the Promised Land.
I only know this … I’m grateful for the positive definitive moments I’ve experienced. I bet you are too. Would you mind sharing one or two in the comments section?