We're updating our directory at church, and we've decided to add pictures of all the families. We're not doing an actual professional pictoral directory, but we've had quite a few new members in the last year, and pictures can really help people start putting names and faces together. One of the ladies at church has a knack with the camera, so she's been taking pictures of families before and after services for the past couple of weeks.
We do not take good family pictures. We never have. No matter how much we try, when we get the finished product, someone's always got a weird look on their face, or no one noticed that a collar is sticking up or some hair is sticking straight out from someone's head. There's so many of us in the shot anyway, that we no longer strive for a photo where everyone is smiling and has their eyes open. We're just looking for a picture where the majority of us look okay. We did take one family shot several years ago that turned out nice. Except for the fact that Terry wasn't feeling well. Come to think of it, he was awfully white in the picture and his eyes were glassy. And he didn't smile so much as he grimaced. Several hours after the photo was taken, he was in the hospital, diagnosed with a relapse of malaria.
Ahh, memories. Like I said, the majority of us looked good in the picture.
With our history in mind, I was not enthusiastic about these pictures. Still, it had to be done. But when our amateur photographer asked me to gather my family together, I did put her off. It was just a few minutes before the morning service, and some of the boys were already in the other building, working in junior church. I was supposed to be at the organ. Not to mention my husband, the pastor, was a little busy. The photographer was disappointed, so I promised her we would take the picture that evening.
I did make sure the boys brought their ties and suitcoats for the evening service, but between various choir, music and Christmas pageant practices, along with the evening service and the church fellowship afterward, I completely forgot about the picture.
Unfortunately, the photographer didn't. She came up to me after the fellowship, and I stared at her in horror. The usual after church past time for the boys is to play outside. They are generally sweat-streaked and dirty thirty seconds after the final amen. In addition, we'd just finished a hot dog and chili fellowship. I had visions of a pastor's family photo decorated with sweat, dirt, ketchup and chili. At one point in the evening I'd sent Joel to the kitchen to clean the whipped cream off the sleeve of his suitcoat. This was going to be a nightmare family picture.
But I had promised.
I grabbed my nearest child and gave him instructions to collect his brothers. They were all to go "wash whatever dirt they could" off of themselves and meet in the auditorium for our picture. In a very short time the boys informed me that they were ready. I knew there was no way they could be presentable in that amount of time, but I refused to care. There was no way to get a decent shot anyway, so why try? I held my head high and marched into the auditorium, where I was positioned in the center of my sweaty boys. I held my breath and forced a smile for the photos.
Several weeks later I got a look at the results:
Yeah, I'm a little surprised myself. Who knew that all we needed for a decent picture was a little sweat and a little ketchup?
Now if I just could have done something about the smell ...