We needed to travel to East Tennessee to pick up Jim's mom's car, and I decided to try and take some photos while we were down there (gas money). My Friday evening photo session was with five-year-old Joslin.
Joslin's mom Shelly is my younger brother's age (I graduated with Shelly's sister Angie!), but I remember Shelly from our evenings with missionaries Mrs. Glover and Mrs. Clark, who drove through Straight Fork in an enormous van, 25+ years ago, picking up willing children for home-based Bible study.
I keep up with Shelly via facebook, but in all honesty, it had been so long since I'd seen her actual face that, when I looked at her the other evening, I felt a little as if I were participating in an episode of Cold Case, experiencing flashbacks of her face as a teenager.
Joslin is amazing: sharp as a tack, energetic, non-squeamish, and (best of all) very frank. Every time I asked her a question, she told me like it was, and without hesitation. I prefer to interact with people just like that: open, sincere. I hope she never changes.
I'm in love with the images I captured of Joslin and found it difficult to choose which to share here and on facebook, especially because I want her mama to be plenty surprised and delighted when she views the entire set. But I would be remiss if I didn't share that, for me, the best part of the shoot involved my interaction with Shelly.
My dad made a comment, once, about someone's spirit failing to bear witness to his, and I took that to mean that he didn't connect with that person on a spiritual level: that he couldn't identify with that person as being related to him, in Christ. After my time with Shelly, that turn of phrase ran through my mind; I just kept thinking, with wonder: her spirit just bore witness to mine.
Many years have passed since Shelly's and my time with Mrs. Glover and Mrs. Clark. They've left this world, by now, as have at least three (maybe more) of the East Tennessee children who--along with Shelly and me--sat at their knees and listened to them talk about Jesus. I'm so thankful for those kind-hearted missionaries and their preparing us for life here, and beyond.
Just before Shelly and I parted ways, she told me a story. It was a very personal story, and I won't share it, here, but I cried, listening, and received her words as validation. I didn't go into the session expecting what came out of it. It ended up being a gift to me.