The silent color footage is somewhat grainy at times, having the look and feel of the celebrated Abraham Zapruder footage from Dealey Plaza back on November 22, 1963. And while its subject matter may not involve any U.S. Presidents, it is still very much to be prized. The material it contains consists mostly of my Uncle Charles and my aunt Jimmie as their early life together unfolds. Of course, as the scenes progress, one also witnesses their children (and my cousins), being born and coming of age.
But numerous shots of other people, places, and events are included as well. And among them are several of my own parents, young and in the prime of life. They appear to be full of life, starry-eyed, and in love at the time.
Also included are scenes recording my aunts and uncles, my paternal grandparents, and even my paternal great grandparents, the latter of which are seen celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary back on November 8, 1958. Any way one looks at it, this is clearly history with a personal twist.
I was so enamored with material that, here while back, I had the film digitized. As a result, I have now been able to view the various clips repeatedly on my laptop. I have also been better able to analyze the footage, stopping and making notes at various locations along the way, etc…
As might be expected, my understanding of the contents has grown dramatically through such sustained and detailed analysis. Nonetheless, I still found myself clueless when it came to identifying certain of the people, places, and or events. There was simply much I did not yet know of the subject matter.
For this reason, I sought out help from others more knowledgeable than me about the contents. In the process, I showed the video to numerous family members and/or friends of the family in an attempt to discover as much as possible about the contents. I am happy to report that the process of consulting others more knowledgeable than me has indeed helped my own knowledge to continue to grow.
And yet, even after all of this study and analysis, the simple truth is that many questions still remain unanswered. Indeed, it is fair to say that, with regard to this one-hour video, virtually as many questions have now been raised as have been answered. Alas, certain portions of this precious collection of snippets from my family’s history seemed destined to remain as enigmatic as ever.
But that all changed earlier this week. While visiting my mother, I was able to spend some time with my uncle Charles. After all this time, I suddenly found myself face to face with the individual who had first bought the 8mm camera, who had filmed the majority of sequences, and who had then made the footage available to me in the first place. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to sit down and review the hour long video with him.
The result? You guessed it! Voila! This 90 year-old man, played out in body, but strong in mind, sat there and proceeded to provide detailed information about each and every scene, including all of the various people, places, and the events, trips, and/or activities being filmed. I learned more in that one hour than I had in years of repeated viewing, study, conjecture, and/or inference.
As I have reflected on this incident, I have been reminded that I have been given a precious record of humanity’s journey through this world. It is found in a book called the Holy Bible. Here, we read of mankind’s creation, fall, redemption, and ultimate restoration.
Along the way, as the drama of the human story unfolds, we are given little snapshots of various individuals within that human family. We see them in their struggles, their losses, and the victories. We hear them laugh, we see them cry, and we feel their pain.
We study this book over and over in an attempt to garner as much as we can about the story it contains. And we are rewarded as we do, for we soon discover that we have just enough to grasp the story, learning both how it all began and how it all ends. More importantly, we have enough to know that it is our story. And thus, that we ourselves have a past, a present, and above all, a glorious future!
Nonetheless, even after a lifetime of study, we often still come away with as many questions about this Book and its contents as answers. To be sure, some of these questions are relatively minor and inconsequential… “Where did Cain get his wife?” “What became of the ten lost tribes?” “What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh?” Etc., etc…
Others, though, are far more significant! By this I mean those mysteries surrounding the person and work of Almighty God (Job 11:7), the mystery of God incarnate in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:4), and the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11)! A lifetime of pondering these mysteries will never exhaust them of their meaning and significance!
What is more, we will only understand and appreciate them in their fullness when that day comes wherein our own knowledge will have been made perfect by the One Who has both created and redeemed us!
For my part, I long for that day, made possible by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, when I will gather with the saints of the ages and behold the face of God. And then, face to face with the One Who is the Author and Finisher of my faith, I shall discover all I ever desired to know about both the story of creation and the mysteries of eternity.
What a day, glorious day, that will be!
SCRIPTURE SOURCES: http://biblehub.com/.