Have you ever seen a photograph, where its content is something devastating, or horrific, or intense, or dark? Perhaps a scene after a natural disaster. Injured people are crying in the wreckage, their faces dirty and bloody and stricken with grief over their current situation. Have you ever been drawn into that content, and had your heart break in solidarity for what was depicted?
But, in a different way, have you been able to draw yourself away from the content and truly appreciate the absolute beauty of the photograph itself? The colors, the light, the faces, the focus, the artistry of capturing the image at that precise moment. Have you ever been so grateful that a photograph like that existed – to show you a captured instant in this ever changing, exotic thing we call life, that you otherwise may never have had the opportunity to see and witness?
For whatever reason, it feels safe to feel both things for that photo - horror and pain for the content, and also beauty and gratitude for the image.
Honestly, that’s how I feel about most of actual life. In one moment I can be lost in the content, being moved this way or that by what appears to be going on – but I can also pull my face away from the frame, step out of the action, and take in the whole of the work of art.
It is in this that I find an ever present underlying peace to life, even when the content looks chaotic, even when I’m lost in feeling that chaos.
At it’s core, at it’s essence, at it’s source, life is always beautiful, and that beauty is always free. The trick is you have to look past the surface level of your human emotions, past the content. Because the content indeed can often feel ugly. But below that it is constant magnificence, and an infinite number of ways in which to be awed.