The Picture


When I Get Where I’m Going, Brad Paisley & Dolly Parton

When I was on the Coast late last week I noticed two disposable cameras in a drawer. I happened to know that those cameras had been there a long time. I grabbed them and brought them back with me to Monroe. I took them last Sunday afternoon to Walgreens for development.

I haven’t developed film in a long time … having started using a digital camera some time back. I wasn’t sure what was recorded on the film. But there was a chance that there were pictures of John Robert to be found there.

When I went to the store I paid for both rolls, and then opened them up in the store.  I was reminded why I stopped using film … about 90% of the pictures are either blurry or not worth paper they’re printed on. But there was that one picture… a group picture … and there was John Robert’s smiling face.

It was July of 2006. Will Collins was our summer youth minister. He, along with Ocean Springs youth minister Trent Bryant, planned a trip to Ocoee River. The guides and hosts were Big Frog Expeditions. Maggy I were celebrating an anniversary and volunteered to drive the church bus to get the kids to and from Tennessee. I believe I took the picture … which is so precious for a few reasons. One, it was one of the highlights of John Robert’s life. He had a great time and loved the people who were along with him. Two, because some of the most influential people in John Robert’s faith journey are in that picture … Will, Joel Jordan, Jesse Bosarge. Three, because John loved the others in that picture with all his heart … Lanni, Britney, Haley, another Britney, Amanda … it was a great trip.

And not to mention the tick. A few weeks after the trip John started running fever. A few days after that he broke out in spots all over his body. The doctor took two hours, consultations with fellow doctors, looking in his books … and finally asked John Robert if he had been on any trips. To the mountains. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever was the diagnosis. It was quickly cleared up.

Anyhow I went out into the parking lot and sat in his truck and wept. Even in my sorrow at missing him so much I was thankful that he had that week in the mountains … that he spent that much time with such great friends … and that we have a picture with a great smile.

The second roll… well… it was an envelope with pictures that didn’t belong to me. Whoever ended up with my pictures brought them back…nothing there to be excited about.

There are no more disposable cameras lying around the house. I doubt we’ll run across any more pictures of him. The last picture has been taken. Even if we lost them all the image of his smile … the sound of his laughter … will forever remain in our hearts.

I do not have my digital camera here with me (Maggy has it on the Coast) … but maybe soon I’ll take a picture of the picture and post it here.

thanks for reading,

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