On Tuesday, December 20, 2011 The New York Times Magazine ran its annual special section entitled, “The Lives They Lived.”
Through social media, the magazine had put out a request to readers asking for photographs of loved ones who had passed in 2011.
Hundreds of images poured in.
The vast majority of those pictured were not special; they had not made headlines; they were not unique except to those in their small circle of family and friends.
They were ordinary people.
“The section is not a greatest-hits issue,” said the editors of the paper.
“Instead, we gravitated to those lives with an untold story.”
The photographs told those stories.
Among the submissions, readers met a teacher, a soldier, a comedian, a developmentally disabled person, and an indefatigable activist.
One iconic image was of a father crying alongside a gaggle of mothers as they dropped off their kindergarteners on the first day of school.
Except for the photographs readers would not have known about them at all except for the brief, captured moments of ordinary lives.
“They are beautiful evidence that every life is a story worth remembering,” the editors said.
Like the lives of those individuals who appeared in the magazine, our lives record a story mostly untold and ordinary.
“Our lives on earth are like wildflowers,” wrote David in the book of Psalms. “We bloom and die.”
Like a fragrant flower, we are delicate in design and beautiful in blossom; however, in time we all will be bent and broken.
But we still have today to live our ordinary lives to the fullest.