A few weeks ago my sister asked me if I knew of a photographer in the area who would take my nephew's senior picture. I immediately thought of Michael from Photography by Michael, located here in Grafton.
I had met Michael several years ago when he took photographs of the first communicants at my church and had most recently hired him to take my professional photograph. Both Michael and his wife, Dale, always impressed me with their hospitality, humor, and simple kindness. And his work -- well that spoke for itself.
I mentioned to my sister that I had heard Michael was recently diagnosed with cancer, and that I therefore wasn't sure how much he was working these days. But she gave him a call, and an appointment was made for this past Thursday.
I met my sister and nephew that morning and watched as Michael did his magic -- finding detail in the buildings and plants that surrounded us that we, during the countless walks we had made through town, never noticed. And we watched as he would manipulate a way to incorporate those details into the photographs of my nephew.
As we walked along, my sister whispered, "He is a treasure."
Michael didn't have his usual energy that day, and he seemed to tire easily. And while I don't know what his prognosis is, I do know that despite the battle he's facing, he managed to bring smiles to our faces and even drew out some laughter.
I don't know if it's because I lost my dad and other family members and friends to cancer that I can't get Michael and Dale out of my mind. Having traveled that journey, it breaks my heart to see another family go through it.
And so it is my hope that all the Michaels out there know of the thoughts and prayers that are sent their way, and that each of them recognize the treasures they are.