YOU DEFINE THIS IMAGE

Billy Heaven

That’s right, you decided what it means. You decide what it shows, what it communicates.

I love this picture. Every time I look at it, a new word pops into my head and I relate to what I see in it in a brand new way. Pictures, like words are important, especially when they appear separate and apart. Without other distractions they can convey a distinct yet different emotion with each viewing, whether by different people or by the same person seeing it over and over again.

The first time I saw this picture words did not enter my mind. The emotions I felt could not be labeled. I think what I was feeling was awe. I looked again and then again, and then the words began to come. Happiness, nature, freedom, beauty, purity, exhilaration, celebration, gratitude, wonder, thrill, delight, blessed, bliss. The first time I looked at this picture the last word that came into my mind to describe what it meant to me was GIFT.

You see, the person that you can’t really identify in this picture is my younger brother, and he passed away unexpectedly this November. His life was a difficult one, filled with challenges, and I believed a lot of sorrow and disappointment. Right after his death I spoke with his best friend and asked him if he had a recent picture of my brother since mine were pretty old. He said he’d look. I said I would appreciate whatever he could find.

A week later when he handed me this photo I suppose the truth is that a feeling did immediately come to me – SHOCK! It was after the shock passed that words and feelings flooded me then and continue to each time I look at this picture. Sometimes my reaction is one I’ve already had and sometimes a new word or feeling emerges, but the one that continues to occur every time I see or think of it now is GIFT.

What I was given was not a photograph. I received the gift of confirmation that at least for one moment my brother was filled with indescribable joy. This gift will live in my heart and my life, with my memories of him, forever. Now it’s your gift too and the person experiencing this ECSTASY can be you.

Happy New Year!

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