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  • Reverend James Squire

Hold Still



Hold still. Don’t move. Then the moment is captured by a click of the camera or touch of a phone. They can be different types of photos, some candid photos, some school pictures, and the classic family photo. We want to preserve the moment.


In a major study people were asked if there was a fire in their home, what would be the thing that you value the most to carry out of the fire. A large proportion of people said the “family photo album” because it is not replaceable. Today it might be a change to our I phone since a good number of photos are there. Many people want to capture the moment. When you view the photo, it takes you back through time to perhaps where you were told to “Hold Still.”


I couldn’t resist writing about the title, Hold Still. It is the name of the book by Kate Middleton who took pictures of the events of the Pandemic. It is usually the other way around where the author of a book or article writes a book or an article, and then the title emerges from that.


I was equally inspired by wrote she wrote about her book: “When we look back at the Covid -19 pandemic, we will think of the challenges that we all faced – the loved ones we lost, the extended isolation from our families and friends and the strain placed on our workers. But we will also remember the positives; the incredible acts of kindness, and helpers and heroes who emerged from all walks of life, and how together we adapted to a new normal,” the Duchess writes in her book.


It is impossible for me to think of taking pictures without thinking about Christy DiSilvestro Rivard. Christy was my Senior Spiritual Leader of the Vestry, a group of students who planned chapel services and shaped the moral culture of our school. She went on to Harvard University where one Spring morning in her Freshman year she went to bed as a Harvard water polo player and woke up the next morning unable to walk because of a double hip injury. She underwent surgeries and navigated the campus for two years on crutches. She was in great pain during a good part of her time at Harvard, took exams standing up and graduated with her class. We connected by phone. She was on our daily chapel prayer list. She was a person of faith and prayer, and she was chosen as the Class Day speaker at her graduation in 2014.


Her address to the Harvard community was about the “Album of Us.” She talks about those important moments in our lives that a “selfie” records, and those important moments when a photo is never taken. She shares a series of life lessons which brought her to the day that she graduated in the midst of Facebook, I phone, and Instagram. It is what everyone of us needs to know to live a full life.


An audio version of her address is at the end of this article.


A year or so after her graduation I received a call from her asking me to bless her marriage. When I asked her who was the lucky guy, she said, “Do you remember me telling you about that guy who carries me all over campus? It’s him.” She is married to Laurent Rivard, one of the greatest basketball players in the history of Harvard, and one of the most humble, unassuming people one could meet.


We don’t hold still for narcissistic moments although many do. We hold still for those memories that can be summoned from a deep place that bring tears, a quick smile, a reminder of courage, compassion, or a hearty laugh.


There is an irony in the Duchess’ title, Hold Still. We may hold still, but what we remember is all the action that touches places in the heart. It is the reason that parents carry pictures of their loved ones in their wallets. We take photos not for the still moment but for all that led up to it, was contained in it, and happened since we captured that moment.


As I sit here typing this blog and look around my office, I notice that is filled with many photos of important moments in my life, some filled with joy and some filled with sorrow. There are faces and places that transport me right to that emotion filled moment when we “hold still.”


If you could take just one picture that was one that would mean the most to you, what would it be? Why? What picture would you take with you from your home if you had to leave quickly and could never go back? Hold still for those moments, look at them and listen to how they would speak to you! What story would they tell?



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