There are two great mysteries we all experience in various ways: life and death. The existence of suffering and death can often lead us to question why, particularly if the suffering seems severe or random. Decay and loss are built into our DNA and the natural progression of creation over time. Things break down, often just after the warranty has expired!
Life and the promise of a renewed life is also a mystery. I often marvel at nature’s cycle of death and rebirth. Gnarly trees survive brutal winters on mountain tops and put forth new growth each spring. Newborn babies present us with a unique, new personality, full of potential and new life—a wonderful mystery of the renewal of the human race. Friendships are renewed after decades of separation. New advances in health care give many people a second chance in life. A move to a new job or new home gives us a chance to start over again.
The experience of decay and loss, as well as the exuberance of life and nature is reflected in my photography, particularly in my landscape photos, where the beauty of nature is a sign to me of how precious life is, and scenes of decay are striking by contrast.
The liturgical season of Lent focuses our attention on these mysteries in the events of the life of Jesus, from his persecution, suffering, and death to the new life of the resurrection. That’s the Christian promise: death does not have the last word. Jesus showed us that on the first Easter morning.
“The mystery of faith: Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.” (from a previous edition of the Roman Missal)