When I asked you to pray last week for our big/little plan we'd hatched for Saturday, I didn't mean to be coy or get anyone too keyed up. I was just feeling shy about things. I didn't want to jinx it by saying too much. Our idea was a bubble in our chests - a fragile, quiet thing. pop! (<< - That's what I was hoping to avoid.)
I had a handful of friends who emailed or sent texts or grabbed my arm in person after reading my post and said something to the effect of, "Hey, what the heck are you doing Saturday?" I got all blushy and spilled it. Now, it's your turn.
A year ago, we had the idea to offer free family pictures to our neighborhood. I'm not sure what inspired this, other than two simple realities 1) My husband takes pretty pictures and 2) Many of my neighbors might not have the opportunity (for lots of reasons) to do this thing that we take for granted.
In the end, we ran out of October. The dreamy light retreated and all the leaves turned brown underfoot. Blerg. Maybe next time.
It came up again this September. Here's how the conversations usually went:
Me: We should do the picture day this year.
Him: Yep. Let's do it.
Me: Okay, when?
Him: I don't know. We'll have to look at our calendars.
Me: Our month is busy...
Him: I know...
Me: But we should at least try.
Him: I agree.
As in, we never got anywhere. We never actually did anything.
We talked and yammered and hemmed and hawed but the simple task of sitting down, picking a date, and marking it in pen was apparently too much action for all our good-minded chatter.
Here's the root of it: Once you write it down, you're accountable. Even if it's just to yourself.
The truth is, we were scared. I'm not entirely sure why.
Our instinct was to micromanage every single detail and every possible pitfall in advance. We wanted it to be perfect. We believed if everything was exactly right, the odds for success would bend in our favor. In fact, our obsessive planning for a perfect family picture day guaranteed that not a single family would smile for the camera.
It might not be perfect. Maybe the weather would mess with us. Maybe no one would trust us enough. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
What were we really so afraid of?
What did we have to lose?
Cory put together a basic, bi-lingual flyer and walked door-to-door with the kids. They passed out 50.
A few days later, I typed up my SOS blog post while butterfly wings flapped in my chest.
Friday was gorgeous. The picture-perfect October day. Things were looking up.
Then Saturday dropped by over 20 degrees. Rain fell all day, and we'd turn to each other and shrug. We knew we'd obeyed. We had done our imperfect part. It was alright that the day was already a flop.
We showed up when we said we would.
Cory framed his shot. We hopped back in the van and waited while the windshield wipers laughed at us. Uh-uh. Nope.
No one came.
I drove home with the kids, fielding questions from the backseaters. "Why did we keep waiting there? Why didn't anyone come? Why did Daddy stay?"
I don't know why I felt so happy. I wasn't sure why "failure" made me grin.
I thought of you, about how I'd tell the whole truth: obedience is worth the risk of failure.
We've got to come to the place where we fully believe our life and our days and our DSLRs are not our own. If we can't trust God to send us out, how can we call ourselves followers?
My phone buzzed with a text from Cory.
"A family just showed up!"
There they were, 2 parents. 8 kids. A mash-up of bloodlines and heartstrings and "you belong to me"s. These were people who knew a thing or two about what makes a family.
In puffy coats and matching nothing, they squeezed close and smiled.
We planned all week for this!
We've never had a family picture.
We switched weekends with their mom so we could all be together.
And I cried the whole way home.
Because one is enough, guys.
I promise you, it is.
They came in the rain and we were so close to bailing.
We were so close to a different ending, one where they planned all week and zipped their coats then showed up at an empty park, forgotten. Again.
Of course we didn't change their lives with a free 8x10.
But ours changed more than a little.
Thanks so much for your prayers.
It was a raging success.