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A Tale of Two Photos: Inside Outside October 24, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Life, Photos, Random Musings, Theological Reflection.
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TWO PHOTOS I TOOK after church this morning as I stood in the church doorway:

Outside looking in...

Outside looking in...

Inside looking out...

Inside looking out...

In the first, I’m standing on the threshold of the church, looking in, with the bright autumn sun streaming from behind me to cast my shadow into the porch. I’d wandered out and just happened to glance back, decided to capture the moment. Then I turned around to face the light and was struck by the contrast. Again, the autumn sun streaming in, now inviting me to go sit on that bench by the war memorial, my shadow somewhere behind me.

There’s an old ATF song, “Back to the Light” (from the album Signs of Change), that’s more or less permanently etched on my brain, and it ends with these verses:

… I step up and onwards, and what do I see?
There’s a mist of darkness and it’s creeping up on me.
Many times before this road I’ve been,
But never alone, never alone, depression walks at my side again,
It’s creeping up on me,
I can feel it in my soul.

There in the distance, a tiny point of light,
It’s growing and glowing, and swallowing the night,
But I’ve still got darkness in my eyes,
I must turn around, and face to where the brightness shines…

I guess you can see why these pictures bring those lyrics back to me again. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, when depression dogs your footsteps, to be able to turn around, and face to where the brightness shines? But life’s not that straightforward. Most of the time you turn around and it’s just as dark the other way too. And yet, and yet, and yet… moments like these: they’re there to be savoured.

I look back into the church and see the people milling around. They’re in another world, somehow. Did any of them see me point my phone and capture that moment? I turn around. The autumn sunshine streams through the trees. The war memorial stands there, mute testimony to humanity’s inhumanity to humanity. The bench is empty and for all the light shining, it too speaks of death, of a once proud tree now cut down and shaped to humanity’s convenience.

But the light still shines, and no amount of darkness can ever put it out. The light you think you can see at the end of the tunnel isn’t the headlamp of an oncoming train: it’s a man with a candle. He’s walking ahead of you. The reason the light keeps flickering is because he limps as he walks and his body keeps blocking the light; but every so often he holds the candle up high, beckons us on, and the light shines brighter than ever.

This morning was one of those moments. Savour it with me.

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Comments»

1. eddieolliffe - October 24, 2010

Unmistakeably you, Phil! Great piece – blessings and thanks.

2. Karita - October 24, 2010

Beautiful. Thank you.

3. Phil Groom - October 30, 2010

Thanks, both. Appreciated.


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