Marilyn and John Greenaway have been sorting their photographs.
The last 18 months have been strange, unexpected and have given many of us time to pause, reflect, slow down, maybe take stock of ourselves. We decided that lockdown gave us the chance to tackle many jobs that we never normally have time for.
We have a vast collection of photographs in various formats that needed sorting: colour prints of family and friends, boxes and boxes of colour transparencies waiting to be digitised by the special scanner bought several years ago and many, many wonderful black and white photos gathered together when we cleared Mum’s house recently.
Doing all this led us both to reflect on where we come from and the places and experiences of our past. These old snapshots of ancestors we never knew but maybe heard about are part of our DNA. Long forgotten images of places we visited on holiday or days out, friends and acquaintances from our past are brought to mind.
Stunning views of mountains, coastlines, towns and cities remind us of the wonderful opportunities we have had to visit these places and experience the beauties of the created world.
It is perhaps the faces of our friends and family that we treasure most. Looking back at pictures of ourselves and our own children as babies makes us realise how the years have sped by. Other pictures capture the faces of loved ones we see no more. How many hundreds of people have we known over our lifetimes!
In our role as pastoral co-ordinators at BMC we have realised very strongly that people need people. One of the things that has been obvious during the pandemic is that what almost everyone wanted more than anything was to be able to meet with others, be they family or friends. Our social lives became seriously curtailed and lockdown prevented us from visiting each others’ homes.
Many of us have learned to use Zoom to connect with others as well as making long phone calls. New ways of communication have become vital to maintain and enrich friendships and family relationships. Those living alone have especially valued conversation with others, however remotely. People really do need people.
As for the photographs… much has been achieved but we still have many of the oldest ones unsorted –families are large and complicated. We now have a very small immediate family but it is good to be reminded that reaching back into the past there are many branches all with their own story to tell.
Some we will never know, others we have discovered over time but they all depend on relationships and that person’s place in their community. We are but a small part in the great scheme of things but we all need each other to thrive and go forward from the difficult time we are living through.