The photograph that changed me

Daily, we all swim in an over-hyped stream of media. A stream of information that in all honesty is mostly worthless to me.

Now and then though, something profound occurs. One of these “somethings” happened to me the other day, something that rocked me deep, something that will make me view myself and view life differently.

What happened? Well, Karen (my love) sent me a photograph in an e-mail. It’s a photo that apparently won a Pulitzer prize in 1996. I’m sure many of you reading this have seen it, but I hadn’t.

The photo is utterly terrible, completely horrible, absolutely awful and it rocked every cell in my being.

The image still comes to me during the course of my day. Any common event can trigger it’s rapid and clear recall from my memory right back into my mind’s eye. And then there it is; I’m seeing it all over again, thinking about it.

I realize now as I write this that it’s impossible to forget this photo, ever. Yet I am thankful for having seen it, and I don’t even want to forget it. I mean, I wish this sort of thing never happened.

But it does.

You see, ever since viewing this photograph, I’ve found myself questioning all that I believe in. At the very core of my being this photograph makes me want to be less materialistic, less vain, less greedy and less apathetic. This photo simultaneously taxes all that my ego desires and shines light on how truly absurd some of those desires are. On the opposite side, this photograph makes me want to be more tolerant, more giving, more helpful and a hell of a lot more humble. It challenges me on so many levels, and to quote Jack, this photo “makes me want to be a better man.”

What is this photo?

Well, before I link to it, I warn you this is a strong image. For me, this photo is a milestone; life before having seen it, and life after. If you choose to do so, you can see it here.

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