Capturing the Moments

We were getting ready to leave our daughter’s house after the holidays. I walked into the room as my daughter and husband were talking to each other. She was seated at the piano, and he was standing tall and lovingly beside her.  

We were getting ready to leave our daughter's house after the holidays. I walked into the room as my daughter and husband were talking to each other. She was seated at the piano, and he was standing tall and lovingly beside her.   The window light from behind them was soft and very complimentary. It was such an endearing scene, and...The window light from behind them was soft and very complimentary. It was such an endearing scene, and I thought I would get one more great photo before we left.   

My husband started to walk away, and I said, “Stop, let me take a photo!” Each of them looked at me and, at the same time, said, “No more photos!!”

When the moment was over, I realized I had not captured this meaningful photograph on film, but more importantly, I had imposed on a special moment that did not need to be photographed, except in my mind.

When I open up Facebook, I see pictures of smiling faces, beautiful vacations, holiday photos, food, animals, and so on. Occasionally, I post pictures to share with friends and family that update and preserve these moments in our lives.

However, some of my most cherished photos are in my mind. I captured them when there was no camera available or Facebook to post them on.  

At any moment, I can recall the blush on my husband’s face when he led the congregation in a song at his church on our first date, the crook of my arm when the nurse placed our daughter, wrapped in a pink blanket carefully there and the moment when her eyes met mine.

I didn’t have a camera to photograph my middle son sitting in the sandy backyard with all his matchbox cars around him or his delight when I sat down in the dirt beside him. Or a cell phone when our youngest son was wearing his red coat, zipping around the neighborhood on his bicycle waving at the neighbors.

We only have a few photos of our youngest daughter before she died, but I have so many captured moments in the 19 months she was with us in my mind and heart. 

Many of my dearest photos cannot be framed and set on our mantle.

I love it when my husband, who does not usually have a phone or a camera in his hand, tells me of a time when he was on a hunting trip in Canada. He said that after seeing a bear, all he could do was stand mesmerized by the site and behold the moment.

Technically the reason we take photos is to preserve our memories and remind us of our history long after it has passed. 

However, according to Linda Henkel, a psychology professor, taking photos isn’t always the best way to remember a moment. Henkel has studied how taking photos impacts experience and memory. 

The fact that we can take as many photos as we want at any given time, we’re sometimes saying, ‘Okay, I don’t need to think about this moment any further. The camera’s captured the experience.’ 

Her research demonstrated that we don’t engage in any of the elaborative or emotional kinds of processing that really would help us remember those experiences because we’ve outsourced it to our camera.

That’s where the word; “Behold” comes in. It is a Hebrew word used in the Bible 1298 times that suggest we stand still and gaze upon. It is a particle that suggests something like, “Well, will you look at that!” “Wow!” 

Some people love to take photos with their phones or cameras, and there are those, like my husband, who take pictures in their minds and enjoy sharing them with others.   

I was reminded of that when I stood next to a girl in Hyder, Alaska. We were standing on a bridge, watching for the Grizzlies and their cubs to come out of the woods. 

Just like many others there, I had my camera ready. When the bears appeared and stepped into the salmon-filled creek below us, you could hear complaints from those who were not close enough and clicking from those that were ready. Flashes were going off, and we were all trying to get the perfect shot.

When it was all over with, I asked her if she got a good shot. She smiled and said, “No, I don’t take the photos; my husband does. I like to look at them. If I am trying to get the picture, I don’t get to enjoy them.” 

We were getting ready to leave our daughter's house after the holidays. I walked into the room as my daughter and husband were talking to each other. She was seated at the piano, and he was standing tall and lovingly beside her.   The window light from behind them was soft and very complimentary. It was such an endearing scene, and...

Sometimes we are torn between, “I’ve got to get this shot,” and “Wow, what a sight!” That’s how I felt seeing my husband and daughter that morning, a struggle between my heart’s desire to hold on to the moment and my head’s desire to capture it quickly on camera before the emotions disappeared.  

And both of those emotions are important. When I find a photo I haven’t seen in a while, it’s like reading a favorite story I’ve read before or remembering a special moment, or reminding me of a joy, a love, or a strength I had forgotten. 

But if you are like me, you have more photos on your phone than you know what to do with, and some are not so good. We have to remember. It’s just as important to capture a moment in our hearts and mind rather than on camera.  
Maybe we all need to stop focusing so much on capturing the moment and enjoy it instead. Be present. Live in it.

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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. Becky -

    This is a great article Deana, wonderful food for thought. I need to practice this more. I have found that when I don’t have my camera handy and wish I had it because a moment and memory is about to pass....just the seeing is enough....and I can be grateful for the moment. Lovely articles, I enjoy each one!

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Becky, my dear friend. We capture a lot of great moments together.Deana

  2. Another beautiful story. Yes, I agree we do not need cameras to remember. Our new generation spends so much time taking photos to get the perfect picture that they are miserable. When I was on holiday recently there were some young girls in the pool who would not get there hair wet or smudge their makeup in case their photos did not come out good for Facebook and Instagram. I would rather splash in the water and have a great time and remember with my mind.

    • Deana Landers -

      Yes, Anita, I smile when I see people so concerned about the photos that need to be posted. I love photography, but as time goes on, I love the moments more. Thank you, my friend, for your insightful comments.Deana

  3. I have many photos, but often think, I was so caught up in the moment, I didn't get a pic, but always have the memory.

    • Deana Landers -

      I know what you, mean, Rosemary. It's the memories that warm our hearts when we think back on that special moment.Thank you, so much, for reading and commenting on my stories.Deana

  4. Lots of food for thought. This goes beyond just cameras though. I think that the advent of cell phones has done society a disservice in general. I can't remember the last time I was at my sister's house and any of the kid's looked up from their cell phones. Whatever is happening on that stupid screen is always more interesting that what's right in front of them. But as bad as the kids are, adults are just as bad. Seems like everyone prefers to connect online these days. I have to wonder if the recent lockdown made the kids crave human contact more or if they were still just as happy to continue to reach for their smart phones.

    • Deana Landers -

      I have these same thoughts about cell phones. My grandchildren and children talk often about manners and cell phones. It is definitely a different world our children and grandchildren live in. Sara, thank you for reading my stories and sharing your thoughts with me.Deana

  5. This is such wisdom! I think we're definitely more present when we're not trying to capture the perfect photo. I'm the family photographer but as my children are marrying and having kids of their own, I want to be "in" the moment, not always taking photos.

    • Deana Landers -

      Marty, I am working on this endeavor, too. There are lots of family photos without me being in them because I am the photographer, but I am just trying to enjoy the moments I have with my family and friends, now. Thank you, Marty, for reading and sharing your thoughts on my stories.Deana

  6. Wow, that's so true. They do say that a picture says a thousand words but a memory often says way more. If we're continually clicking away with a camera, we forget to absorb the smells and sounds that go with the image and make it all the richer. Thank you for reminding me Deana <3

    • Deana Landers -

      Michelle, thank your for your comments on my stories. You always bring out the good points and I appreciate you.Much care, my friend,Deana

  7. It's so true, we are all so fixated on capturing all the moments that we don't live in those precious moments! Thank you for this reminder!

    • Deana Landers -

      Laurie, thank you for reading and responding to my stories. You are right. We can miss precious moments trying to capture it on camera.Deana

  8. What a great reminder to just really be present and soak up the moment. Thanks!

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you so much, Lynn, for reading and commenting on my story. Deana

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