I love this picture.
First and foremost – everyone is happy! Not a forced smile, smirk, or pathetic attempt at humor. But we’re all smiling ear-to-ear and genuinely ecstatic to be there, in the moment and enjoying it – together.
Jeffrey’s expression is priceless! Alan and I are thinking, “How crazy is this???”.
And there’s Debbie. The sparkle in her eyes. The dimples imprinted on her cheeks. Her beautiful, long brown hair flowing freely beyond her shoulders down to her waist. Her left hand intertwined in mine, wedding rings visible, representing our union together.
And in this picture, as in everyday life, Debbie was connecting all of us together.
This is our family. Connected, loving, laughing, and experiencing life as one. Whatever we encountered, we faced it together. Obviously we had no clue at the time that in less than 10 years, the strength of our family bond, as well as our faith in God, would be put to the ultimate test.
This picture was taken in the 2004 timeframe by a professional photographer friend of Deb’s who offered to take some family photos of us. We had not had a family photo professionally taken in ages, so this seemed like a great opportunity. Looking back, I’m so glad we did. The location was a beautiful garden in the Springfield-Annandale area. I think the photographer said something like, “OK, let’s have some fun with this next picture”, after which Debbie immediately jumped into our arms and the photographer masterfully captured the moment. I believe we maxed out the fun meter, because with Deb in the middle of things, you couldn’t help but have fun!
This is how I picture Deb now. Heaven is her home, and she is in God’s presence. She’s still smiling, with those sparkling eyes and deep dimples on full display. And she’s healthy, happy, and carefree.
She’s also waiting – waiting for the day we can join her and once again be connected by love and laughter in a place infinitely more beautiful than the place where this picture was taken (although it was amazing).
I’ve been dreaming about Deb a lot lately, and this is how she appears. These dreams remind me that she’s OK, and one day very soon (in the context of eternity), we’ll be together again. I can’t wait.
That’s how I get through each day. Because I know better days are ahead, and as Frank Sinatra said, “the best is yet to come!”.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal”. (2 Cor 4:18)