There’s a time in just about every family’s life—even if only for a fleeting moment—where each in the family, and it as a whole, represents what it means to truly live.
And for every family that lives this reality, calling it a bliss-filled circumstance, there is one that’s been torn apart by the ravages of time, sin and cruel circumstance. Still, that is life.
Take the family portrait.
It captures the essence of a place in time, fixed historically for all eternity, and we call upon recollection of it whenever we gaze reflectively at it. We see it at a funeral. We ponder it at a significant birthday party. And it happens at the obligatory moment too.
Family – the Structure for Life
Hardly ever is it known that a person lives such lonely a life that they have no family, and never had one. Yet that too occurs. For these, there’s no portrait of identity; no signifying detail holding breath in tension.
Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved (or been loved) at all.
Family is hence the godly construct; and if not a human family, it’s a divine family of humanity that every soul can genuinely cling to.
Beyond the portrait, then, the family is no mere two-dimensional representation—a glossy or matt-finish mirage. It steers our way in life.
Mere Representation or More Than?
But what a family portrait represents is what family means to us, personally, and perhaps lesser so, collectively. Here, too, our memories resemble that two-dimensional cast. They’re never sufficiently dynamic to carry us back effectively enough to the halcyon period.
As they are, the portraits stand, eternally in the frame of the temporal memory of family history. Life and the centuries may perhaps, ultimately, sweep away signs of them. But for us, for now, they remain, and so we’re blessed.
Whether these are a mere representation or more is of little consequence. What they mean to us personally and within the family setting is what counts.
Gazed at your family portraits lately?
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.