“People used to make records
As in a record of an event
The event of people
In a room”
– Ani DiFranco
I’ve just finished reading the memoir of my favorite folk artist, Ani DiFranco (disclosure: her music is riddled with words some define as cursing and content some define as overtly political). I love the way that she defines her work of making music as the creation of records; not in the sense of vehicles that transport music, but as in the historical archiving of a space in time.
And maybe it is the fact that I’ve just received the photos my family sat for to be included in the new directory, but as I opened the envelope I could not help but get a bit philosophical. At first response, I was frustrated that the marker on my daughter’s hands was not edited out like I had hoped for. An otherwise perfect photo capturing her personality was “marred,” in my opinion, by this flaw. But what an incredible way for me to have recorded this season of our lives together as a family! This is the season where life is moving incredibly fast and the ways in which my daughter grows and changes remind me of the wonder of life together. I will always think of her abstract marker drawings from these days and laugh about how I’m just a head with arms and legs attached, scraggly hair a sign of her affection for me.
I wonder about how we view this snapshot of our lives together as a church. Do we look first to the flaws or self-determined deficiencies and then fixate upon them? Or do we find them full of opportunity for reframing? Do we think about all of the limitations of our space, or do we dream about life in ministry moving forward? Are we so concerned about our own feelings about a vote, or do we think about what our collective vote will communicate to the community and world which surrounds us? Do we fixate on vacant seats as empty or full of possibility?
What is the record we are making? And when we look back… listen back… will we remember the truth and wonder of what was or will we fixate on how we could have done “better?”
What events in our lives are the ones about which we would like to make records?