A photograph is a small moment in time… life snatched up at 1/100th of a second. It is a sliver of a story so big, so complex– how can I communicate the fullness of life in a fraction of a second? How can I communicate enough of Ashley’s story here before your mobile-device-infected attention span conks out? I’m not sure it is possible. If it is, I haven’t figured it out yet.
Some time-slivers in Ashley’s life are a career as a Marine. A thyroid cancer diagnosis. Meeting the man of her dreams, then marrying him. Having his baby. There was that time he saw a gigantic stuffed tiger at the drug store — the very first gift he bought for his daughter. Cooking amazing meals. Drinking wine. Lots of time-slivers of laughing.
Then there were those time-slivers when he was tired. Really tired. And at first he needed to just suck it up. But then it got worse. There was a heart transplant. But his heart– the man of her dreams – his body wasn’t strong enough to take it and he passed away. Leaving behind a wife, a toddler, and a little baby. A baby that was also in and out of the hospital battling his own health concerns that have left him unable to take food and drink like most other little ones.
The last few years of Ashley’s life play out like a Lifetime movie. But the story didn’t end at the hospital–
Ashley recently moved here to Anderson. A new town, away from her own family. This is the town where her husband grew up. Her kids will never have a memory of their father. They were too young. But maybe they can know him through his family. Their grandparents. Their aunts and uncles and cousins. The ones that look like him and talk like him. The ones that have the same laugh, the same hands, the same quirks. The ones that can retell memory after memory. Time-sliver after time-sliver — so they WILL know their father.
The pictures below are merely 46 tiny time-slivers recorded on a normal, uneventful day. But they are real. Glimmers of what is to come. They are the beginning: A new town. A new home. So new the pictures are not hung and the couch is on back-order. New paint on the walls. New memories to make. These slivers of time announce the beginning of a new chapter in Ashley’s life. But they are also a monument lifted in heart-wrenching honor of the messy/beautiful/painful/hopeful slivers that have led up to today. Humbly declaring that life and death and all the bits in-between are out of our control. So the only thing we can do is Trust with hopefilled Faith that sense will one day be made of what now feels senseless.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 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 Corinthians 4:16-18
The weight of loss hangs heavy in the air.
As a chair once occupied now sits empty.
Yet the weight of glory hangs thicker.
Like a cloak of peace around her shoulders.
She feels this unseen substance, proof of things hoped for.
And knows, though the balance teeters,
This weight of glory makes momentary afflictions light.