I find the photo at the bottom of my desk drawer. It's pressed into the back corner, buried under a wild mess. I pluck it free.
It's a black and white. The edges have been trimmed with pinking shears. There's a sticky spot on the back. At one time it had been placed in an album. Someone had taken the time to preserve this, to tuck it away, to tether it to something bigger so the memory wouldn't slip away.
But now it's in my hands.
The picture was taken, I'd guess, in the late 1940's. It's the house that my grandfather built for his family. Years earlier he'd left Missouri, his home state, in pursuit of work. And how he had a plot of land in Iowa. In the photo, the house is just a frame. There's a whisper of a hint of the home it would become.
My great grandmother is standing on the platform that would soon be the porch. And at her side is my own dear Mom. She's a small child, matchstick legs sticking out from a sweet, white dress. My mother's sisters are there, too. And the family dog is scrounging around the yard.
It looks like an ordinary day.
I sit and hold the photo, and I'm struck by the passing of time. Great grandmother has long been in heaven. Now my dear grandparents, too. A couple of my own children are much older than the children in the photo.
Generations have gone by.
I'm not sure how the photo came to be wedged at the corner of my desk drawer. But I'm glad it did. For a moment, my heart stretches back. But in the same moment, it stretches ahead, too. Ahead to the day that is yet to be born...
Lord, let me live this day to the fullest. Let me pull my children close. Let me whisper in their ears and feel the sweet beat of their hearts. Let me tell my parents they're precious. Let me love my husband well. Let me be a good sister and listener and friend. Let me help someone in need...Lord, let me use this day to know You more.
I stick the photo in the corner of a frame - on the top of my desk.
What a precious reminder of days gone by.
And joy for the day to come.