How Pictures Saved My Life


Little more than 4 months ago, I did something desperate and crazy. I planned my funeral. Not because I'm so organized and prepared for anything -- but because I was planning on killing myself. I planned the songs and the scriptures. I even wrote my eulogy. Then I started digging around in my photo archives to make a video of my life in pictures -- something for the boys with a journal of letters to both of them. While clicking through my pictures, I thought I should organize the rest of my photo library and finish backing up the files -- a gift for my family, for sure. So I began. Quickly and urgently. I was on a mission.And maybe -- subconsciously -- I was buying a little time.

As I spent time with my photos, reliving those moments and clinging to those memories, something happened. With the words of my own eulogy in the back of my mind, I looked at every single photo differently. With new eyes. I guess it was kind of like someone on his death bed, really seeing his life for the first time. The bad times don't seem so bad, and the good times seem really good. You forget about work and money and small annoyances. What matters most is so painfully clear.

Fortunately, my death bed was my own doing. It was an option I could deny. I could take those feelings of "I wish I had one more day to do......" and actually do it.

But I didn't. I continued my mission of organizing photos and writing letters. I knew choosing to fight through the depression would be hard work, and I wasn't ready to take that on. I'd lost my will to fight. I was -- in all essence of the word -- done.

But the time I'd unknowingly bought was everything I didn't know I needed. I heard songs that left me feeling encouraged. I talked to my doctor. I talked to my family. I clung to the hope I knew I had but forgot about -- the hope of a Savior who loves me and promises to fight for me. I would feel a little uplifted every now and then but push it to the very back of my mind -- I was done. I was ready to die. I was without energy. Without passion. Without feeling of any kind. I was no longer sad or angry, but I couldn't bring myself to be happy. I was completely empty.

Writing my own eulogy was one of the hardest things I've ever done. When I felt I should write more, I couldn't -- there wasn't any more. 27 years of life only gives you so many talking points. It was during this painful process that I realized I'm not done. There is so much I have yet to do. And say. And experience. Little did I know, the time I bought -- because of my love of photography (there were so many pictures!) and my OCD regarding my pictures -- was a gift. Seeing my life in pictures made me want to do more of it. Life, that is. Make more memories. Experience the good and the bad -- and throw it all at the feet of Jesus. Teach my boys what matters most. Document their lives so they know just how much their lives matter. Document my own life so I know just how much I matter.

Because I do. And you do. And we all do. And this does. Life matters. I'm not done. And thanks to this beloved hobby of mine, I now know that.