• Bill McLean

Picture Frames and New Year's Resolutions

Several years ago, we bought our parents WiFi digital picture frames so they could see pictures of their grandkids even though they live over 600 miles away. And this year, my family got me a similar frame to sit on my desk where I am writing right now.

It is wonderful to be able to look over and see memories from years gone by. Making things even more fun, the pictures are set on random playback so as the picture changes every five seconds the order varies every time the frame turns on. Pictures of our high school junior as a less than one day old baby, transition to our middle schooler building towers out of jelly packages in a restaurant as a toddler, to our celebrating the new year just three days ago.

These memories help me to remember where we have been as a family, but also accentuate how much things change over time. When you see someone regularly you do not see the little changes that happen, but when you see pictures from five, ten, or more years ago you are faced with the reality of how much things change. The four-year-old playing spaceship

in a box is now taking AP classes in high school and has a driver’s license. The new college graduate drenched from a thunderstorm is now a husband, parent, and pastor. The pictures of these moments also remind me of the twists and turns that followed each.

Even the pictures from this year show the changes (and not just that there are facemasks being worn in many of them). The first day of school pictures are of people sitting at their computers in their bedrooms, and opening Christmas presents with the grandparents are

pictures of us connecting over Facetime.

Yet, each one of these pictures is a memory of where we have been, how it has shaped who we are today, and guides us toward who we are becoming. And it is these memories that make the picture frame such an amazing gift . . . otherwise it is a blank digital screen taking up space on my desk.

And it is those memories that are the focus of my New Year’s Resolution for 2021. My resolution, and my hope, is to continue adding new memories to the frame this year. To add more adventures to the frame whether it is a picture of all of us sitting around the living

room curled up with a good book or a picture from the family trip that was postponed because of the pandemic.

The memories remind us of where we have been even as we move forward into tomorrow. The goal is to keep the memories, while allowing them to change every five seconds so that we do not get stuck in the past. Otherwise, we miss the way things are changing around us and lose out on the new memories that are being made today and tomorrow.

My hope for each of you this year is that despite the many twists and turns that we have been through this past year and the ones that will surely come tomorrow that you too will add new memories.

As we begin a new year, may you be surrounded by the peace and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace,


Rev. William "Bill" McLean, II

Presbyter for Congregational Care

Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois

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