Life is a window

Life is a window.

Sometimes you’re looking out a clear window at a dark storm. Sometimes you’re looking through a fogged, dirty window at a sunny day. Other times still, we keep the window shut, in fear of what lay beyond. I like to think of us all as windows; the size and quality of the glass is how we see things, and the circumstances we face in life are the vistas before us. The things we go through, good and bad, are separate from how we perceive them, and how we perceive them has a tremendous impact on how we handle them and, as a result, who we are as individuals.

Compassion through encumbrance. Kindness toward anger. Strength over adversity. Coffee through sleep deprivation. In a perfect world, all of our windows would be one of love and strength, looking at whatever situation we face… but none of us are truly ideal people. We’ll always have faults. Our windows all have chips, stains and fingerprints, from ourselves and others. Sometimes our perspective becomes so dirtied by past events that we prefer to keep it shuttered and hidden; we prefer not to look through our own window, or let anyone see it; instead we might dress it up with material things, which of course is about as effective as spraying Febreeze on fresh manure. From my experience, the only way to replace a dirty, cracked window is to first break it completely.

I had mine broken last year in July, not too long after I photographed this amazing Trash the Dress session with Chris and Brooke. Overly high, life-long standards for myself and a continuing inability to reach them had left me with a nagging sense of inadequacy and insecurity, which in turn made me a bit immature and a little depressed. But a series of bizarre circumstances, all of them my fault, rocked my world and left my window in pieces. It all came crashing down, and I hit “rock-bottom”. Severe, clinical depression came.

And then… from this bottom, the pieces of a new window slowly began to emerge. I realized that all of my insecurity was unfounded. I realized that my standards for myself were not only unrealistic, but also completely unnecessary, because our value and worth as people come not so much from what we achieve, but more from why and how we try to achieve them. I realized that I had a good heart, good mind, and a good idea of what I wanted to do in life. I realized that it’s not the view that is important; rather, it’s the window through which we look at it.

I realized that I alone am responsible for keeping my window clean, and that I alone am entirely capable of this. We all are. And if we keep them clean and our motives correct, good things will happen. Editing Chris and Brooke’s Trash the Dress session helped with this realization. Their love was so true, so simple and plain to see. Their windows: clean individually, yet one in the same; united, looking toward the future together. Soulmates… or “windowmates”. I’m grateful that I was there with them, and that I had their photos to edit during my darkest days. It lifted me up, and gave me hope.

… to be continued, with Chris and Brooke’s wedding, which  I’ll post up soon I just posted! I haven’t yet mentioned that replacing my own window lead to the opportunity of finding my own “windowmate”…. my soulmate, just a few months ago. I’ll write about that too! Thank you for reading!

– Jim

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