Most newlyweds receive their wedding photos within weeks of their ceremony. But one British couple received theirs forty-six years later. They saw the photos only once after they got married and ordered prints but didn’t see the photos again until last week.
The photographer died in February, and his nephew came across the album of photos while going through his uncle’s boxes. “They looked like they had never been touched since the day they were put in the album. They were pristine and looked like brand new photographs with so much color. The box was a bit tatty and covered in dust and dead spiders, so I wasn’t expecting much.”
He tracked down the couple in the photos through social media and reached out to them.
Though now divorced, the couple didn’t remarry and have remained friends. They were surprised to receive the photos after so many years. Their daughter, who now has two daughters of her own, was thrilled. “The excitement of looking through the photos of my mum, dad and family members looking so young, the vintage clothes, and being able to share an important piece of my family history with my two daughters is really a bit of a miracle,” she said.
A foundation for future generations
Most of us enjoy looking through old photos, especially of family and friends. As the couple’s daughter noted, seeing the vintage clothes and being able to share pieces of family history is exciting.
My husband and I have a “family wall” of old photos of ancestors going back several generations. Our grandchildren enjoy hearing about the “weird-looking” people in the photos. The photos capture a bygone era that is preserved through the photos.
We have wedding albums that we still enjoy going through forty-two years later. And our grandchildren think the clothes we are wearing are pretty vintage.
My husband has wedding-day photos of three sets of his great-grandparents. Their expressions aren’t as happy as the ones shown in our wedding albums. But they were from a different era, where most everyone looked solemn in photos, even at happy occasions.
Various photo albums we have include pictures of the two of us when we were children, photos of our children when they were growing up, and photos of our oldest grandchildren. But, now most of our photos are on our smartphones. Several of those were taken this past holiday weekend when the entire family went to the beach.
While it’s convenient to have “instant” photos and not have to process film, I find myself letting all the photos collect on the phone instead of in drawers or in boxes. Getting copies made is definitely needed to make going through those “pieces of history” more memorable.
In house fires, people have always tried to rescue precious photos and albums. Why? They represent a heritage and foundation of values.
But, preserving family history is more than saving photos. It’s more than laughing at the vintage clothes, cars, hairstyles, and homes of the past. It’s more than fond memories that pop up on social media. Or posts showing smiling faces.
It’s building a foundation for future generations which will survive the years. A foundation that will survive the fires, storms, and trials. It’s creating memories that will be etched in hearts and minds and shared over the years.
The solemn people in the photos we have on our wall and in photo albums persevered through deaths of children, hard life on frontiers, through wars, famines, depressions, and pandemics. They held onto foundations that were laid before them. And we hold onto foundations they laid.
Now we have lived through a pandemic and other hardships, and one day our grandchildren will share with their grandchildren how a strong faith foundation was important to get through hard times.
A foundation forever
God’s word is our album, our “picture” of the One who loves us most, that holds more value than any others we can share.
The words of God to the Israelites leaving Egypt are still God’s message today: “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 11:18–20).
And the teaching was echoed by Jesus: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24–25).
When the wedding album found the couple forty-six years after their ceremony, their lives had changed. The photos provided memories of a happy occasion.
We can know that if we build our lives on God’s word, we have a sure foundation: “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6); Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Are the values you hold most dear etched in an album or in eternity?