A Different Lens

When our sister church pastor was here for our daughter's wedding, I took the opportunity to download all of his photos from his camera onto my computer, with his permission, of course.  Because of computer crashes and sketchy internet and time constraints, we don't share photos back and forth as often as we should.

Today I took the time to open up the folders and look at each of the photos.  What fun to see my Salvadoran Papa painting crosses in his workshop, friends around a Christmas tree, Sunday School kids working on art projects, church meetings, birthday parties, and marches through the streets of San Salvador with familiar faces peering over banners demanding protection for El Salvador's water. I found a couple of pictures of me in the mix.  I smile a lot when I am in El Salvador.

Smiles and more smiles filled my computer screen as I rolled through photos from The Day of the Child and community celebrations.  I paused for a few moments to think about the young woman who proudly held her university diploma in a series of photos with the pastor, her friends, her family, her son.  She was beautiful with a grand smile  that said, "Now I am a math teacher."  Her time as a math teacher was cut short by her arrest.  The allegations against her relate to her proximity to gang members.  The story is complex and filled with holes that cannot be understood from a distance.  The community and the church are accompanying her as best as possible, sure she will be released once she has a hearing.

The girls and boys soccer teams made it into the mix of photos.  The kids look tired and happy and a few trophies are featured which means they must have done pretty well in recebt tournaments.  It caught me off-guard to read the words Kimberly Clark across the boys' jerseys.  From time to time, members of the community have protested against the non-environmentally-friendly practices of this corporation in El Salvador.  The uniforms are pretty spiffy.

As I was clicking along through the photos of youth and adults working together in a beautiful organic garden, an unexpected photo caused a little gasp.  My computer screen was filled with the lifeless face of Don Rene.  He died unexpectedly a few months ago.  When I realized what I was looking at, I hit the right arrow button pretty quickly -- I do not want that image to be the one that comes to mind when I remember Don Rene.  The next photo held the cries of his granddaughters clinging to his coffin; the next held the tears of his wife as she peered into the grave.  I have mixed feelings about funeral photos.

The last photos in the batch were taken during in the US during the wedding visit, including a whole bunch of photos that were taken in our church preschool as "ideas" for our pastor to use back in the community.   It's fun to see all of these experiences through a camera lens other than my own and to know that some rainy afternoon in El Salvador, our sister pastor and his co-workers or families from our sister church community might be clicking through a batch of photos.  Some will have been taken in El Salvador and some in the US, there will be smiles and tears, curiosities and new understandings, and some images that will just make them laugh out loud.


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