Reflections on Forgiveness, Family, and my Future

I went to church yesterday. The pastor spoke about forgiveness. Often times it’s easy to hear a sermon and think that it doesn’t really apply to you. For my fellow church going folks, I’m sure this is a feeling you’ve experienced at one point or another. Truthfully, that’s what I felt about yesterday’s message - until I started looking for photos to post later in the day.

I took pictures of Gideon and his family about a month ago. They have a beautiful family and it’s easy to see the love that flows effortlessly between them. But as I scrolled through the images I could feel just a tad bit of jealousy creeping in as I watched Gideon engage with his parents.

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You see, my parents divorced when I was three, about the same age as Gideon. So I never played board games or read books on the floor with mom and dad. Not that I remember at least. I often think about what should have been or wonder what could have been. There’s a tension, and if I’m honest, even a resentment that exists when I imagine how different my life would have been (regardless if that’s actually true or not) had I not been raised by a single mother and my parents raised me together. Don’t get me wrong, my life is great; but there’s always the wondering of “could it have been better?”

…But forgiveness. 

Forgiveness allows me to look at these pictures of Gideon with his parents and swell with excitement. It allows me to let go of the “shoulda woulda couldas” and appreciate where I am in life at this very moment. It allows me to release blame and take complete ownership of the direction of my life moving forward. It allows me to fully appreciate the love I’ve received from both my parents and the manner in which I continue to receive it. It allows me to take photos of a beautiful family and enjoy every single moment of it.

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As you can tell, Gideon loves being with his parents. And being a kid. And having fun. He’s a complete ham - and he knows it! At one point, he made me put the camera down and play hide and seek with him in the middle of the shoot.  I hid upstairs under his parents’ bed.

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Their home was quaint and welcoming. I could feel happiness and positivity radiating from their picture filled walls and hardwood floors. I asked them what they loved about each other - a question I’ve never asked my own parents. They spent several moments just looking at each other with the biggest of smiles, the same smile their son Gideon has, before they took turns answering the question. It was magical.

I’m grateful this family allowed me to photograph them in their home. I’m also glad I went to church yesterday. I’m looking forward to starting a family and raising children one day. And each experience, no matter how big or small moves me a step closer to becoming the best husband and father I can be.

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