Judy ran over to their car. Matt stood next to me. Baby Joseph sat upright in his arms. We were taking a break from photographing them so Judy could make a few outfit adjustments. As she grabbed a scarf and some pearls from the car, Matt warmed up Joseph. It was the type of cold that instantly makes your skin feel like ice. Joseph cuddled up to Dad with a blanket over him and Dad’s body heat bringing much comfort. He was perfectly content there in Dad’s arms. And Matt looked like a natural draped in blankets while holding a Chickapig toy in one hand and his son in the other.
As Judy made her way back across the cobblestone street, Matt yelled over to her, “looking good, Jude!” and in that moment I knew we were being gifted with a front row seat to their beautiful marriage and family. Throughout their family session, they took turns holding and warming up Joseph. Both of them carried the toys and blankets at different moments. They both made small comments back and forth that revealed a relationship steeped in knowing the other. The more time we spent around them, the more time we wanted to spend around them.
So much of our time behind the camera involves working with couples who are engaged, or with brides and grooms on their wedding day. We are so passionate about photographing our clients during these exciting times in their relationship, because we know these photos can remind them of what this young love felt like decades from now, when their fresh spark settles into a slow-burning fire. We know that holy marriages lead to holy families, and we believe that holy families will play a huge role in turning many souls to Christ. The Burke family gave us just a glimpse of what a beautiful gift a holy family is to those interacting with them, and to the world.
Obviously a short, seemingly funny affirmation such as, “looking good, Jude!” is not earth-shattering. Matt probably doesn’t even remember saying it. Judy probably doesn’t remember hearing it. We, on the other hand, talked about it a lot on our drive home. It just came across as a sincere compliment served with a dose of true friendship. If hearing this small interaction between them left such an impression on us, imagine what their daily interactions are capable of doing to those around them. The Lord is able to use us as instruments in the lives of others, and the very fact that we are living out our vocation means that we should expect Him to be using us!
Matt and Judy, thank you for letting us into your family for an afternoon. Your warmth and playfulness is admirable. Amy once had a conversation with a single friend of ours that still pops into her mind often. This friend brought up her fear of feeling alone in marriage. Don’t we all have the possibility of feeling alone in our marriages and relationships? If we retreat into ourselves—knowingly or not—we become even more susceptible to loneliness. Marriage requires us to come out of ourselves, both in our relationship with our spouse, and in our relationship as a couple to the world around us. What a gift we witnessed in your marriage: a friendship and an understanding of the other that is playful and sincere. We know the Lord will continue to pour out grace upon grace for you in your vocation, and we’re so excited to see how He continues to use you!
Amy and Kyle