The Profound Power of a Photograph (or Throwback Wednesday)
February 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment
I'd like to thank my friends Chris Cooney and Jim Kilby this week for allowing me to use this photograph without knowing what I was going to write:
On a farm in Ohio, c. 1998. Photo courtesy of Chris Cooney and Jim Kilby.
What do you actually see?
First off, I did not take this photo.
The reason I asked my friends if I could use this photo is that somehow this photo evoked a strong response when Chris posted it on a Facebook a couple of weeks ago. If you don't know them, you may just see a photo of two guys, probably on a farm. The bails of hay, pile of wood, and box of matches indicate a bonfire somewhere. Their sense of style says this was the late '90s, as does the fact that this was scanned from a print.
For me, and for most of the folks who commented on Facebook, this photograph immediately bypassed the eyes and went straight for the heart. This photograph transported me back to a cold weekend in Ohio on a church youth group retreat. In this photograph, I see myself sleeping in a tent, playing "Reveille" on my trumpet at first light the next morning, and playing capture the flag in the pitch black. My mind sees lots of friends who are not actually in this photo. I remember the bonfire we kept burning as our only source of heat. I'm trying to forget my own sense of style during that time of my life. That was a very special weekend, and it all came flooding back in this photograph.
The beginning of a vision
One other thing that I remember about this weekend was that on Sunday morning as we prepared to leave, we had a chance to encourage each other. Retreats have a way of providing "mountaintop" experiences, and this served as a way to take some of that with us.
Jim may not remember this, but during that time he looked at me and said, "Adam, when I see you, I see someone who embodies Philippians 1:21 - 'to live is Christ.'" To me, these words were both life-giving and revolutionary. Jim saw something in me that I'd not really seen for myself. Jim gave me a new perspective, and a vision for what my life was and could be.
...to live is Christ... (Philippians 1:21)
To this day, these words stick with me. They require that I learn to live and see things differently, and they're the reason I use the name "Live in Contrast" - to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Thanks for looking,
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