Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness

This title and powerful truth of course, a quote from the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One of our most sacred rights in this country is our right to free speech, followed by freedom of assembly and freedom of association. These are called “unalienable rights”, rights so important that the government is forever banned by the constitution from taking them away. We in this country have the right to choose great beliefs or repugnant beliefs and we have the right to speak our minds about them and to try to convince others to believe the same. It is what makes our country great, it is what sets this nation apart from all others before it.

However we are also a nation of laws. Speaking our minds in public of course must be done within the limits of the law. Anyone has the right to apply for a permit and have a parade or a rally, whether it be for Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, or Christmas or anything else. What we do not have is the right to not be offended. There is no constitutional right in this country to live life unoffended and being offended doesn’t give anyone the right to physically attack the offender. If someone holds beliefs that are repugnant to us, we do not have the right to beat their beliefs out of them, evil cannot drive out evil. That of course does not apply to our right to physical self defense… naturally if someone is attacking us with a knife or club we have the right to respond violently. It is also not freedom of speech to incite to riot or conspire to commit violent crimes.

We do however have the right to speak our mind, to try to persuade others to believe our way. Hopefully, if our beliefs are superior others will also believe and follow and by spreading our light we will be successful in driving out evil and those with inferior ideas will naturally become marginalized and rendered irrelevant. If we choose to take the other road by allowing one group of people to eliminate another’s right to say things that offend us, it will soon be followed by seeking out those who believe things that offend us in order to correct their beliefs. A huge and powerful segment of our population including the judicial branch of our government, the media and the Hollywood elite have already taken this country well down that path and if that course is not soon reversed it will be soon be followed by calls to physically eliminate people who believe things we find offensive. This has always been the progression in the evil empires, Rome, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and now with ISIS in the Middle East where “infidels” are beheaded.

Think it can’t happen in our time? One only needs to look to the Communist and Islamic countries. People of “incorrect” religious persuasion in those places meet in the darkness of night in private places in fear for their lives. They aren’t hurting anyone or even speaking of their beliefs in public. But never the less, if they are found out they are sent off to prison where they are tortured and often killed. Those who live in darkness  cannot stand even a pinprick of light.

A place where the state is allowed to determine who’s rights and speech are correct and allowed is a dictatorship. Is that what we want for our country? Do we really want an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth” enforcing the beliefs of the state, or do we want to continue the unprecedented high road this country has taken by allowing people the freedom to exchange ideas in a peaceful manner. Granted it hasn’t always worked out that way, the expression of new ideas has often been met with anger and violence but in the end the right to speak those ideas remained and evil has not prevailed. Darkness is not power, it is the lack of power and it cannot withstand light.

Matthew 5:16 ”Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

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Out of the Darkness

I don’t know how this piece turned out this way. I was going to write a long post on opening a studio. So I was going to throw it out and start over, but I thought, “This is raw stuff, maybe it will help someone going through hard times?”. So I’m not even going to edit it, just post it the way it came out…

Strange how life can sometimes grind you down to nothing, to the point where all you can think of is survival. Whether you will have a place to live, food to eat, any kind of future at all. When times get like that your dreams get buried, your ideas fade and hope for a prosperous future becomes an afterthought. Every day becomes a battle for the next day and there is no time for dreams to percolate, no time for hope, no time to remember the plans you once had.

DeiaBikiniBut through it all there is this from scripture “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future”. At times these words can seem empty, when all that is ahead looks like darkness. But the words themselves in the worst of circumstances are also a pinpoint of light, if you can hold on to them.

I once had dreams of owning a photography studio. Actually I did for a little while, but it was heavily subsidized by the computer company I was working for, which eventually ran into rough seas and layoffs were the fate of a bunch of us. Soon I did get a new job in the industry but the learning curve was steep and I decided that it was best to just concentrate on the bird in hand rather than divide my time on a venture that hadn’t really blossomed yet. Times were good and my plan was to reopen as soon as the time was right.

Unfortunately, the new company began to stumble, contracts were lost and layoffs hit again. Then 08 happened, then my wife’s cancer diagnosis in 09 and death in 15. Forgotten were the good times, when Tricia and I were a team working with budding models working on their own dreams. Forgotten was the love I had for the equipment, the fascination with lighting ratios, highlights and shadows. Forgotten was the amazing way my wife labored to make backdrops and find props for the pictures. Forgotten were the delighted smiles from our clients when they got to see what we had created together. Everything we’d worked and hoped for was in ashes, only a gravestone to remember it with.

I survived the rest of 15 and part of 16 by selling all that we had accumulated but by the beginning of summer this year, life looked pretty bleak. Until one day I walked into Walmart and saw the sign, hiring, see manager. Well it just so happens I knew the personnel manager and the next day I was sitting in the training room at my first day back on the payroll.

I know unloading trucks isn’t much to brag about and certainly no way to get rich. However, the interesting phenomenon is that any kind of job takes survival off the table. As long as you work hard and follow the rules, survival is something you don’t have to think about anymore. For quite a while though, some of my friends who saw me limping around, popping aspirin and rubbing my tired eyes said to me.. “You could be making a lot more money.”, but there was no time to think about that. I wasn’t ready to think… I said, “You know, I don’t want to think about that. Right now I just want to unload trucks.”. Survival at the time depended on just doing and concentrating on the simple job.

However, it is starting to sink in that the pain levels are becoming unmanageable and not sustainable. Fortunately I work with understanding people and there are younger men who are more than happy to take on the heavy lifting. But still, I have been racking my brain to think of ways to make more money with a smaller physical price tag.

Beach-WalkAs I was disposing of twenty years of accumulation last year, I ran across some of my studio pictures. Something told me to box them up and put them in a safe place. Something also told me earlier this year to scan them and make a Facebook page for them. So I did, and pretty much paid no attention to that page at all… until yesterday. First I discovered some new FB tools for business pages, and fiddled with them a bit. The new job and steady income has also gotten me to fiddling with the idea of buying some property and getting out of these squalid digs. Then today I had my “out of the darkness” moment, it finally sank in to my worn out mind, the memories, the dreams, my hopes for the future. I thought, just maybe… I can put it all together and pick up where I left off, a decade ago. It’s a long shot for sure, but my new plan is to have a photography studio.

It will be a long tough road since I had to sell some important equipment to buy cancer medicine, but I just call that an obstacle. When I first started, way back in 1992 I had to do all my photo sessions outdoors… Lol, which resulted in some blue lipped models, but the adventure of it all was fun for all of us. I think if I dig deep… I can start anew one more time… Hopefully there won’t be too many fake summer pictures in the snow before I have new equipment, new digs, and a new shot at the studio I left behind so long ago 🙂 Here’s to a new start, with  S. W. Krull Models as ground zero for the new enterprise!

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items