I took this photo 5 years ago this morning (11/6/2013). The night before, my world had gone black. The bottom had dropped out of my life. I was dazed and bewildered and in the darkest place I had ever been. I had never experienced a loneliness so complete.
In the midst of my despair, I was guided to take this photo. Something inside of me, that was part of me but not “me,” took over in that moment. I was in no place to be concerned or interested in photography, particularly because photography wasn’t something I had done since high school, which had been 20 years ago. It was like an out-of-body experience. Fear was suspended for a few moments as I stood up, climbed on top of a desk, and snapped this image of a light fixture. I was witnessing my self take the picture. When I looked at it on my screen, I was moved by what I saw. I found the image compelling. A part of my self was communicating to another part of my self. The symbolism of the three lights, the person who created the light fixture, the setting in which the photo was taken, and the way the image came to be, was all too much “coincidence.” This was clearly a personalized message for me in that moment.
No words will ever be able to accurately convey what this experience and the accompanying feelings were like. I was humbled and in a deep state of gratitude even though the life I had known exploded, and I was in a tremendous amount of emotional pain. I would like to be able to tell you that from that point forward everything got better, but it didn’t. Things got darker for me before they got light-er. But throughout my bewilderment and travels into the depths of despair, this image and the feeling I had that morning, never left me. It became a symbol that I reflected back on when I was in my darkest moments (and still do).
The message the experience and image delivered to me that morning was this:
Even in our darkest moments, there is a light in all of us that cannot be put out. It is unfailing, uncompromising, and undisturbed by any of the world’s seeming happenings. This light can be covered over to the point of total unawareness, but it can never go out completely. Remember the light Tim. Remember the light.