It happens in a second but lasts a lifetime and beyond. Memories fade, but the vibrancy of a photo can breathe life back into a moment frozen in time. They resurrect emotion. They awaken the past to be a part of the present and help influence our future.
Far too many times I have come to the end of the day and wished I had taken a picture: a way to hold onto the feelings of that moment for eternity. A way for me to never forget the incredible events, people, and feelings that have made my journey its own. A way to know that I truly lived. A way to be reminded of the beautiful community that I am surrounded by.
So many times, however, we are too busy and consumed to stop and spare a moment to take a picture, or we merely feel awkward doing so. But days pass by, months, and then years: those moments unconsciously fade from our memories and there's no way for us to get them back. Those powerful feelings also dissolve into the passing of time, only to be reawakened by the sight of a moment fixed in a photograph. But what if there's no photograph?
I used to hate taking pictures, hated asking. I still don't love it, but I've realized those photos are some of the greatest treasures I have in my life. They've been a way for me to not feel so alone when I close the door of the world behind me and enter my uncontrollable world of CF. They remind me that I have so much more life in me and that my life is not defined by that of Cystic Fibrosis. I also know that if I come to the end of my days, I have truly lived. Each picture would be a representation of how abundantly full my life was: filled with amazing people, opportunities, and endless beauty. Photos aren't important for their materialistic value, but because they are truly priceless. I've realized that if I let a moment or memory pass me by without documenting it, it will be lost forever, never to be lived in its exactness again. I had that moment at my fingertips and had the opportunity to freeze it in time, but I didn't take advantage of it. I knowingly let it slip through my fingers. And what if that photo contained someone or an event that so impacted my life? What if I had never captured any of those moments? What if they were suddenly lost from my life? I fear that they might fade from my memory and I would live with such regret.
Living with CF, odds and time itself are daily working against me. I think about all those moments that could be so easily lost, those moments I did not capture. I have to make each moment count. In the darkest of days and in the brightest of days there is nothing greater than flipping through old photo albums, sifting through pictures on your phone's memory, or walking past a framed photo precisely placed on a book shelf. Those feelings that are born of each photograph cannot be emulated or recreated: They're one of a kind. Film or digital, find a camera and capture the beauty that fills every breath. You only get one life to live, so capture those moments and fix them into your memory forever.