We browsed a photography studio. The owner and photographer chatted with us. When we asked him to choose any one of his photos and share the story behind it, he cocked his head, thought for a moment, then pointed to a photo of what looked like a church. It was a beautiful building and gorgeous photo. He shared the story of how he had been taking photos of a moose, when it started to rain. He decided to move on to another subject, choosing the church. He took several beautiful, serene photos then returned home.
That night, the steady rains got heavier, and the next day, water flooded down the mountainside right beside the church. He showed us another photo, taken a few days after the flood when he could return to the area. Full grown tree trunks were stacked like matchsticks beside the church, where a deep gulley had been cut through the earth. The two photos looked drastically different. The only thing in common seemed to be the church.
It was a great story. And a gorgeous photo…which we couldn’t afford. But we were grateful to hear the story and temporarily appreciate the photo.
The next day, we went for a drive. As we ascended higher into the mountains, obscured by clouds, snow began to gently fall. We were about a half an hour into our drive when we rounded a curve and gasped at St. Malo’s chapel ahead of us: the same church in the photo! We pulled over and I took several photos as the snow fell. What a treat to see, in reality, what we had seen on canvas the day before. What a treat to see the healing of the trees and other vegetation compared to the damage that had been done.
We couldn’t afford the original photo, but we got several of our own. We listened to the photographer’s story, then experienced our own. The story became richer with our own memories.
There is a story behind every photo—whether it’s a canvas or a virtual snapshot of our life experiences—and each story is personal. We will not live someone else’s story, but God connects our stories in surprising ways. Pay attention to the snapshots He’s providing today. They add beauty to your story.