A couple weeks ago as we were driving home late at night from a wedding, I felt myself sinking into the depths of a rare moment of doubt.
Oh don’t get me wrong, I have doubts all the time. Doubts about if we’re good enough. Doubts about where we’re going. Doubts about if we’re getting there fast enough or if we’ll ever get there at all. Doubts about my seriously suspect cleaning abilities. (Note to self: the magic eraser is not in fact meant to go on EVERYTHING).
Me and doubt…we go way back. Kind of like that girl in seventh grade who invited me to her slumber party only because she wanted to put peanut butter in my hair. Yea, doubt is kind of like that seventh grade mean girl…she has a tendency to stick with you.
But that’s never really been the case when it comes to what it is that we do.
Wedding photography. The photography of weddings. Photography for people who believe in love. There has never been a moment of doubt in my mind that what we do matters. It’s a constant. A given. A universal truth. Like “you will never find the perfect outfit when you’re actually out shopping for one.” Some things you just know, free from doubt.
That is, until the other night a couple weeks ago.
When in one exhausted moment, for just a glimmer of a second I caught a glimpse. It washed over me in a wave, and all at once sucked the air out of my lungs with hurricane gale force and then landed with a thud in the pit of my empty stomach. It was like getting the wind knocked out of you….with a soccer cleat.
You know, what if all we do is really just to create another pretty thing on the wedding day? Something that’s enjoyed for a while, but then tucked away and forgotten about alongside the dress and the veil as life moves forward.
It suspended me. Hung me there for a second. Reeling. As the world spiraled beneath me.
And then I caught hold of an image that in an instant just as quickly…redeemed me. I clung to it. Held onto with everything I had.
It was an image of a wedding picture in a silver frame. And it sat on my grandparents’ mantle for sixty-two and a half years. It’s the two of them on their wedding day, staring out as they started a life together. A life that would span over the next six decades, through children, grand-children and great-grandchildren. Through World Wars and recessions, sickness and health. And as life moved on and children grew and her raven hair turned gray, it stood there as the one constant. The reminder of what it felt like to hold hands and look out in the same direction. Together. To be those young people again. And then to look back and know that this life and this love was always worth the risk.
And then I thought of all the wedding images in all the silver frames that might be out there in the world somewhere right now because of us. Because of all of us. And this crazy thing that we do. And how that sixty-two and a half years from now, it might be one of our images that grand-children and great-grandchildren are still holding on to. And in that moment, somewhere in the darkness along the corridor of I-95, my faith was restored.
And I was reminded to do everything I can to shoot every image, as if it might one day end up in someone’s silver frame.