This afternoon, we celebrated my husband's grandmother, Ann. She turned 80 today, and the whole family came to be with her on this milestone birthday.
One very important person was noticeably missing, though: her late husband Ray.
On Ray's 80th birthday, the entire family gathered for a photo to mark the occasion. The image was taken outside, on the porch at their son's home. They didn't know it then, but it would be their last family photo with him in it.
Four years later, to honor Ann's 80th, again on their son's porch, the family congregated for another portrait.
Clearly visible through the window on the far left is a Grandfather clock Ray meticulously restored. It's a lasting testament to his character as a devoted, hardworking, patient man of God. It's presence here is an absolute coincidence, and I have no doubts that it is the Lord's way of showing us that he was smiling on us today as we celebrated the woman he loved so dearly through over 50 years of marriage.
As a photographer, I'm struck by the extraordinary coincidence behind all of this. There are boring details perhaps only I, and other photographers, can appreciate. Like: the angle of the shot, the availability of "good light" in this corner of the porch only, or the aperture being set "just so" to get everything - including the clock - in focus. But we can all appreciate the rest: the weather being perfect for an outdoor shot; the family forming in such a way as to not block that window (notice, that is the only part of the image that family is not well "balanced"); or even the placement of the clock! Had my mother-in-law preferred it on any other wall in her home, it would not have made an appearance here.
Whatever your belief, we can agree that this is an incredible circumstance. One that my family will treasure for decades to come.