The End of the Roll

Remember when we used to put real film into real cameras? Those little rolls of celluloid that had “leaders” that you must load correctly into the camera, otherwise they wouldn’t wind right? And sometimes we realized that we had a few more frames left on a roll that we didn’t want to waste, so we took a few random shots to finish it out? Then we had to unload the film cartridge and take it to the drug store to be processed, not knowing if the pictures would come out right until after we picked them up?

I recently saw some old pictures that we had taken that fit into the end-of-the-roll category. They were usually not staged or planned. They were just random shots. And sometimes these were the best parts of the roll. Funny, cute pictures of my young children or my husband doing something sweet or silly. Afterthoughts, you might say.

As a proponent of “finding God’s profound in the mundane,” I realize that these afterthoughts are some of the tastiest spices of life. In the dark rooms of our existence, images can appear that weren’t posed or planned or expected, and yet they can reveal the most precious memories and lessons.

How can seemingly unimportant things become the best bigger-than-life experiences? It’s all about perspective. Sometimes it takes scrutiny; being on the lookout for little, insignificant events.

My sister gave me an afghan for Christmas one year. You know the kind, the cotton ones that you throw over your feet while you’re watching TV. I had several already, hanging on the backs of chairs in my house. But this one was different. It was very pretty like the others, but rather than it having some kind of patchwork or Southwestern design, this one was a piece of art, a Thomas Kinkade print woven into the fabric. I studied the picture and realized it looked a lot like the original painting by the artist.

“I wonder how they do that,” I thought to myself figuring that it had to be stamped on the afghan after it was woven at a factory somewhere. Then I noticed the frayed edges all the way around the entire afghan. I realized then that each little thread was colored just so, so that when woven together into the fabric with the other threads it painted this lovely picture.

I realized that life was really like this afghan, a tapestry, threads of insignificant experiences woven together to make a beautiful picture.  Some of the threads, when looked at closely, individually aren’t very pretty.  A few of them maybe could be considered beautiful, but most were neither; just ordinary run-of-the mill threads. Nothing spectacular. And for sure, none could stand alone to make an impressive design. 

It would be nice if we could unfold the entire tapestry of our lives and look at the whole picture. But God only allows us to see the threads one at a time. Mother Teresa said, “God accomplishes His work through the small things.”

Watch and listen and capture those incidental, serendipitous snapshots that might be at the end of the roll. There may be some wonderful revelations found in what you hadn’t expected.

Isaiah 55: 8-9

My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts

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