When Jenn and I were brainstorming ideas for a session at her home in Southern California, I asked what they normally like to do on a Sunday afternoon. She said, Go to the beach.
I was all, Heck yes!
I’m thinking Baywatch. Beverly Hills 90210. Or that one summer on Saved By the Bell when the whole gang worked at Malibu Sands. I was super excited. Coming from South Carolina, I couldn’t think of anything more “California” than an afternoon with surfboards on the Pacific Ocean!
Well Jenn quickly replied, But I don’t want to go to the beach.
What do you mean no beach?! I was pretty bummed. She said she had another idea instead. Her kids had recently outgrown their backyard jungle gym and she wanted pictures of them on it before they tore it down.
Um, beach… outgrown jungle gym… beach… outgrown jungle gym. I just wasn’t seeing how this was a viable option. I thought about calling Jenn and telling her she was making a huge mistake. There is no way a rickety old jungle gym could compare to Malibu Sands.
I hate to admit it, but the next day I pouted. And I did what any depressed photographer does. I blog stalked. (If you are not a photographer, blog stalking is the equivalent of eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting). I went to the site of this amazing wedding photographer that I like to visit when I really want to feel bad about myself. He travels all over the world and shoots fancy weddings with designer dresses and designer shoes and designer cakes and designer cake toppers. The weddings are all at exotic locations like remote tropical islands or majestic mountain tops.
He was at Malibu Sands. I was on a rickety jungle gym.
As I was scrolling through images of the most beautiful people and places in the world, four words popped in my head and rattled around loudly between my ears:
Heart of the Home
Oh how thankful I am for those words! I was immediately convicted, and humbled, and excited all at the same time. What was I thinking? Who cares about designer cake toppers when I can go somewhere that Mr-Fancy-Pants-Wedding-Photographer can never go… into the Heart of a Home.
Those words “Heart of the Home” have served as a guidepost for me over the last 4 years… reminding me that I am not seeking out families with designer furniture or perfectly behaved children. I am looking for something deeper. Something so deep that I often forget it is even there. I am looking for the Heart of the Home. That “rickety jungle gym” is more than a few boards and a slide. Today, it represents the passing of childhood. And it is worth much more than a summer at Malibu Sands.
(oh and the jungle gym was pretty sweet, not nearly as rickety as I anticipated.)
Material goods & self-glorifying domestic perfectionism are definitely not the heart of the home. The heart of the home is found in the relationships nurtured there and the comfort offered to one another – comfort we have first received from God, the Father of compassion, and then share with one another. – Carolyn McCulley