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Black and White

Have you ever looked at a picture in color and then looked at it in black and white? It’s startling. It’s almost as if you’re looking at a different place and time. There are contrasts in the black and white that I miss while looking at the beautiful color.

And so it is with me in my “black and white” days. These days are punctuated with great truths; exaggerated even. But they hold such a weight. Deep down, if I’m prodded and poked, I must admit, I find great value here. It’s like the “aha” moment my soul longs for, but can’t quite grasp in color.

If I’m commentating on these days, I might use words like “blah” and “bland”, “raw” and “colorless”, “overcast” and “bleak” . But then I take a look at the photo. My breath catches at the clarity that the harshness highlights. Even the grayness soothes like a cool drink to a parched soul. Comfort and proaction is here in the bright and dark.

Social injustices become startlingly clear in black and white. Someone (in full color) asks me, “What do you think about refugees?” Hmmm, so many colors and opinions¬† are zigzagging in and out of so many worlds and then wrapped in this colorful question.

What do I think? What do I think? I take a minute to shift from color and examine the black and white photo…and I know.

The person in front of me is the one that matters. Refugee or not, I know exactly what to do; how to love; when to take action. There are NO polarizing mantras that will sway my focus from that face; those eyes; this heart. This is what the sad gray can do.

To be honest, I wish I didn’t need it now and again to remind me of something I knew but have forgotten. But…

It reminds me that light is strong and steady.  It has power. I have power. WE have power.  Our light (and love) pierces and highlights and has a place in this world. It can be trusted. It silhouettes and focuses like none other.

It reminds me that my mundane feelings of gray (inadequate as they feel) are the backdrop to most of my life. It’s as if the sooner I appreciate gray, the more it freely gives to me. I suddenly see the grandeur in the slightest of these “shades”.

Yes, pain is evident here in the black and white, but so is the honest and brutal truth. What a gift.