Pictures can’t tell whole story of life

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

Editor’s note: This column is being re-run by request.

My sister Susie was here not long ago, and we were looking through some old family pictures. Mother even has for each of us reprints of photos of generations going back to our great-great-grandmother and great-great-grandfather.

Our children enjoy looking at all those old pictures of extended family and people we never met.

The newer books contain photos of Susie and me as children. There is a picture of me wearing a cowgirl hat and my red bandana around my neck. I am sporting my latest Roy Rogers lasso ordered from the back of a cereal box. I loved Dale Evans, and anything that had to do with her intrigued me. One picture has Susie holding a bride doll in a white dress.

Another picture is of Susie and me standing before a Christmas tree in matching red skirts, white blouses and black patent leather shoes. Then there is the striking pose of a young mother and father in the reception line on the last night of their ministry at their church in Kansas City, Mo. The next day we all headed for New Mexico.

An ancient picture shows my grandfather leaning against the pipe banister on the steps of his little country church. Robust and young, he is surrounded by his brothers.

Another picture is of my mother’s mother. My mother tells me I look like Annie, my grandmother. Three children sit with her on the back porch. She died a few months later, leaving her children who were separated after her death to live in different homes.

Another one is of my uncle Keith when he was in World War II.

Memories resurface and stories abound when I look at these old pictures. Yet, the pictures are just that — only a stand-in for the real or genuine portrayal of our family. There is much more to their personalities and lives than these reveal.

The real picture would include the hurts and happiness. The real picture would include the overcoming of difficulties, the affection for one another, the loyalty among family members who shared common values and goals. No picture can record those things — not even my mother’s old albums.

Even the image of my mother and daddy at their first church with the sign over the door that says “Watt Baptist Church” does not reveal the commitment, faithfulness and obedience characteristic of those first few years of their ministry together.

I have to tell the story to my grandchildren so they will know the real story.

That is the way it is with the message of Jesus. It’s not the church or the preacher on television or the prolific Christian writer. It is more than quoting “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is more than the Sermon on the Mount. It is more than remembering Bible stories from old Sunday school days.

A picture is worth a thousand words. The real picture is living as a child of God everyday and seeking God’s plan for our lives. The real picture is a faithful walk with God, and as a result others see the picture of the Gospel because we live it.

I agree with my mother who noted that the real picture of the Gospel is the many thousands upon thousands through the years who have lived their lives portraying it. Their influence still lives today. Those pictures don’t fade over time but inspire us daily.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: