Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Angel Statue - In Memory of Our Neighbor

This time of year can be a mixed bag for some.  For most, it is a time of great celebration and joy.  Exchanging gifts, family get together's, music, singing, laughing.

For some it can be a time of great sorrow, especially if they are mourning the passing of a beloved family member.

Not too long ago, we found out that our neighbor had suffered from a stroke in her home and later went home to God.  My wife had known her longer than I - almost 12 years.
We have 3 dogs and they can be very vocal at times, but she never complained.  She was the sort that knew your schedule and looked after our house and let you know if someone was snooping about, and we would reciprocate.

She was always willing to talk with you anytime about anything.

She took special pride in her yard.  She had hired a lawn service to care for it professionally and she would be out almost every morning tending to her flowers or creating some yard art.

I remember one day a few years ago, I had approached her and asked if she minded if took some pictures of her creation.  You see, she absolutely loved angels and her yard contained more than a couple statues throughout.

I took this picture.

I had the picture printed and I gave it to her.  She started crying.  I asked her what was wrong and she just replied, "I'm just so glad that someone else sees the beauty that I do when I look at my yard.  Not everyone appreciates it."  I just told her that my wife and I do and to keep up the good work.

  A few days after her stroke, my wife spoke with our neighbors daughter.  The subject came up about the angel picture.  It turns out that the image was one of her favorite pictures.  She had written on the back of it - "I will treasure this picture for the rest of my life".
Her daughter took it to the hospital and put it at her mom's bedside.  She plans on keeping it in memory of her mother.

I can't explain the feelings that I had when I heard that.  There are so many things that we do for people that, at the time, seem so small or relatively trivial...but can affect them more than we realize.

I can honestly say that all the hard work in photography was worth it for just that one moment, when you realize that what you've captured and shared touches someone.  I don't care if I NEVER create another image.   I know that I have made a positive influence through my work to someone. I did something that made someone feel better about themselves, their lives and through my appreciation of what she had done with her yard....she paid me the ultimate compliment.

I just ask that every time you walk past a stone angel statue, reflect on ways that you can use your skills to positively influence others and make the world a better place.  Even the smallest gesture can mean more than you think.   Pay it forward.

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