When the Israelites returned from the Exile, they faced tremendous challenges in starting life over in a place many of them had never been, as well as having to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by invaders. They experienced a great gratitude for being able to reconnect with God and their heritage this way.
In reflecting on our experience of the pandemic of the past two years, I am reminded that this has been like a period of exile for us, a time when we have been cut off from family and friends, from travel, from doing many of the things that give us joy.
The pandemic has also reminded us of what’s important in life and has helped us grow in appreciation of our blessings, and perhaps a greater appreciation of solitude or of nature, as people have spent more time enriching themselves through reading and reflection and through spending more time out in nature.
Photography is one way I have immersed myself in the world around me, growing in appreciation of the beauty that surrounds us daily. As we slowly emerge from this pandemic, perhaps our vision of the world and of our role in it will change in a way that will enrich us and those around us.
“‘Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength!’ Then all the people went to eat and drink, to distribute portions, and to celebrate with great joy, for they understood the words that had been expounded to them.” (Nehemiah 8:10-12)