John the Evangelist, writing about Jesus the Living Word calls him the Light bringing life, “the life that was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”(John 1: 3,5)
This is true of all light. It brings clarity, exposes darkness, shines in darkness so you have to see it whether or not you want , once you have eyes that see. You can close your eyes and pretend it’s not there, but that does not stop it’s existence. Once you have seen it, the impact remains. Light is powerful, indeed.
A few weeks ago I went to the Amsterdam Lights Festival. See the photos above.
As we ferried through the city’s canals, we were struck by one exhibit after another where the medium of light is what the artists used to communicate their message. One of the artworks arrested me. For me, it was like an Equalizer (after the tile of a poem I wrote calling the Soufriere Hills Volcano an equalizer that in some senses levelled the quality of life for all- richer and poorer as they were forced to face certain realities in common).
This simple exhibit showed clothing hung out on clothes lines. Everybody (or nearly everybody) wears clothing – people of different sizes, different genders, different nationalities, different ethnicities, different social positions, different abilities, different people…)
The artist made the clothes look so plain and simple. I guess that is why some people do not just dress plain and simple. Their clothes must tell a story. I guess what the lit up image drove into me is that clothes are clothes anyway. I can’t forget the message. I see it when my eyes are closed, even in darkness. It does not take away the message etched in my consciousness. Maybe I had a clothes problem. Maybe? At school it was OK to be in uniform. Uniforms are such good equalizers! But I’m not going to wear clothes just to make me look like someone else. I must be me and my clothes a part of my story.
Notwithstanding all this, the light in those simple clothes dispelled my darkness. Clothes are just clothes, however much you dress up. It is that plain and simple – Light in my darkness!