Faith, Memories, and Joy – A Photo Essay.

There are places in this world that strike memories. Everyone has their own childhood, their own beliefs, and their own mark on this world. Every moment, every experience, has a chance to live forever with the click of a shutter. This opportunity is far more widespread in today’s society, and every human now has a collection of photos that define who they are, who they were, and the times they’ve had. 

You are invited into a collection that recalls moments of childhood spent with someone who inspires love and emphasizes faith.

You are welcomed into the house of loved ones. Go ahead and walk up the steps, and be eagerly greeted by those who are proud to see you grow more every day in your life. This is a sanctuary, a place to go when parents say “no,” and the entrance towards all of your wildest adventures thus far. 

Speaking of entrances, this used to be the entrance to the almighty toy shop, a huge favorite among children. Thousands of young ones would pour into this store each and every day, gazing at this entrance sign as if they lived here themselves. There was a whole new world in there, filled with imagination, possibilities, and many kids getting on their knees, praying that grandma or grandpa will make that purchase for them. 

Think about all the prayers you’ve made as a child, sitting on your bed with your grandparents beside you, making sure you were under the security of God before turning off the lights. Though you may think you are trapped in darkness, the reality is that grandma is just around the corner, getting some great deals on jewelry while always willing to come to your aid. As a child who lays in bed, you are reminded of the Lord looking down to you, reinforcing that everything is going to be alright, and if it isn’t, then you run to the warm and friendly grasp of your grandmother’s arms.

Having a grandmother who worked at an ice cream chain like Friendly’s meant many ice cream trips as a child, which is almost always a given. Next to toys, sweets were the next best thing, and no matter the season, no matter the time of day, ice cream was always on the mind, and made for a wonderful adventure between you and your grandma…even if the adventure was a 5-10 minute drive. Your grandma made her mark at this place, and she wouldn’t let you forget it, or your order.

Marks were made in plenty of other places, too. Physical marks can be seen at the beach, where the numerous crevices in the sand highlight the plenty of hot summer days spent on the shore. You would beg to go deep in the water, but grandma can’t see very far, and you were thus stuck near the shore, collecting shells and building sandcastles. On the rare occasion, you would convince her to come in the ocean with you, but as soon as she would fall on her rear end she’d get up and go back to her towel, exclaiming that she’s as delicate as a flower.

When the sun is bright, the birds are chirping, and the flowers are blooming, sometimes the best way you and your grandparents would spend the time is by going to a local diner because you know there is no other place on Earth that makes a better breakfast. Whether you’re a toddler going to the restaurant for the first time, or a grown college student getting picked up and going primarily to get a break from school meals, a free breakfast at a diner provided by your grandparents is always the move. They always knew where to find the most scenic places with gardens that will make any soul lively.

Going to church is meant for you to heal your soul from all the sins you have committed. Whenever you go, you are reminded of why you believe in faith, you are reminded of those you have lost and you are reminded to love those who are still around, because you just never know what life has in store tomorrow. You can develop a great appreciation for such love and life just by looking through a fence.

As you look through a fence, you can see the beauty in nature while you walk around the local park right by your grandparent’s. The trees are everywhere, surrounding the park and filling the air with life. The fountains are on full display, making elegant designs and inspiring imagination from everyone. Above all else, however, is the castle, a building once thought to be entirely mystical and historical, but is now a reality, and represents high achievement and a life worth living. Going with your grandparents to see something like this was always a treat, and was one of the finest adventures you’ll ever have. 

Your childhood was worth living because of them, and their life was worth living because of you. And while she may no longer be around, you still have hundreds of photos of her, thousands of memories of her, plenty of places you went with her, and countless stories he will tell you about her. So, in that sense, is she really gone?

As a child, one of the greatest honors in life is to have a set of grandparents who love you no matter what, who enjoy spending time with you and are genuinely fun to be around. Gone too soon, she was, and still is, the beacon of light in our family, and her memory will live through this family for generations to come. 

Read the original post with an additional section where I describe the process of making this story here.