Written by Bryan Maier
Monday, 23 September 2013 00:00
These are heady days for the counseling department here at Biblical. We are all moving to a new building! Rumor has it that Malcolm Walls will be moving into my old office. Please pray for him as he follows in the very distinguished footsteps of Todd Magnum and myself. For the third time in my professional career, I will be arranging a new office. Of course before I can do that, I have to pack up the old one and for me that is usually a very nostalgic enterprise.
As I was packing this time, I came across this photo that has been on my shelf since I moved here in 2006. The photo is of a happy young family and was taken over a decade ago. The man in the photo is yours truly although now you would be hard pressed to find any brown hair. Also, due the wonders of cataract surgery, I no longer wear glasses. The “little boy” in the photo is now five foot, eleven inches tall; just one inch shorter than his father.
And the lovely lady?
She was my wife who was called home in 2010 to be with the Lord she loved so much. In fact, as I am writing this I remember three years ago this week when we mutually agreed that she would go on a morphine pump; a clear signal that her time on this Earth was drawing to a close. It took another 72 hours for her strong heart to stop beating (Southern women have a hard time going anywhere without their lipstick).
To those who have lost loved ones, photos have can be even more meaningful when it is all we have left. We celebrate the memories of the photos, but also rejoice that their smile and the gleam in their eyes are not totally lost to history.
And yet there is some ambivalence too.
C.S. Lewis (whose wife Joy died of the same kind of cancer as my wife) once remarked that he felt the photos of his wife were almost blasphemous. How could you reduce such a complex three dimensional woman to a two- dimensional piece of paper with ink on it?
I feel that same ambivalence. Michelle was so much more than any photograph could ever capture. So what should I do with this photo? Put it on another shelf? Hide it? Throw it away? I don’t know (although I probably won’t throw it away).
The man and the boy in this photo still have an assignment from God to live out. And part of my assignment in the next couple of months is to put my new office together. So if you want to see where everything lands, feel free to drop in in a month or so. By that time, you should see three very organized offices, one in controlled chaos, and mine.
Don’t forget to bring a housewarming gift!
Bryan Maier, Psy. D. is an Associate Professor of Counseling & Psychology in the Masters of Arts in Counseling Program at Biblical. He maintains a private practice at Diane Langberg & Associates.