Wounded… but Now Lifted

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When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. (John 20)

One thing is certain.  Everyone Jesus encountered, everyone since, everyone here, you and I… have all suffered, are suffering, will suffer.  We don’t seek this, we don’t choose this, but we carry scars all of us.  Some can be seen, felt easily.  Others less so.  Many are completely invisible.  But these are the wounds we carry.

I have always believed that when Jesus appeared to his followers after the Easter, he must have looked entirely different, most assuredly better I would assume.  Most of them had seen him last at his trial, at the scourging, hanging upon a cross, or draped in burial clothes.  He was brutally beaten and he must have looked that part.

In the small room where he now stood, he must have… looked better than that.  But the risen Jesus still had scars, still carried those wounds.  And furthermore, this was how they knew it was him.  By those wounds.

In our lives, we will be wounded.  If there is nothing left in the story to tell, then we will carry those wounds forward for as long as we possibly can.  They can shape us, identify us, define us.

For those of us who are willing to stand with others in that small enclosure, who recognize him as the one who was also wounded, wounded even for us, but who now stands before us… showing us his scars… and who is alive… and if we believe that the story continues…

… then we can proceed on forward.  Now lifted.

Anticipatience

my_dad_05122017_1You can see it, right?
Behind the brazen brown eyes-
The war, between

anticipation-
longing to leap up
and throw the thin-framed
lenses to the floor
and scream the questions that
lead to the truth-

patience-
slide the glasses back
behind the ear, run the
fingers through the black hair,
with tinges of earned grey,
fold the hands and wait. 
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Second City Stroll-About (with the Pen-F)

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The Cloud Bean.  Yes, it’s a self portrait.

Friends and followers of this blog know the drill.  I travel for business and as I’m making plans, I have two knee-jerk reactions: immediately search for (1) nearby photo spots and (2) holes in my schedule so I can take advantage of such spots.  Last week, Chicago called and so an Olympus Pen-F and two teensy lenses (Olympus 17/1.8 and Olympus 9-18 wide zoom) answered.  I had a fleeting hour one night and then a half day subsequently to fit it all in.

First, how did the Olympus kit fare?  For a Fujifilm shooter, I would say quite admirably, with one quantum exception — see below.

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The Reason for Our Hope

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Are you a hopeful person?  Are you hope-filled?  If I called a meeting of the people who know you best and asked them to describe you, would I hear the word hope in their answer?

I’ve had reason to wonder this about myself over the past few months.

I recently heard the Good News/Bad News Fable and thought I would share it with you.  Perhaps you’ve heard it before.

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21 Weeks

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In 21 weeks, you can remodel a house.  You can travel around the world.  You can write the first draft of a novel.  You can grow a magnificent beard.  You can… do many, many things.

Or you can wait for a medical diagnosis. 

My wife of some nearly 32 years found out last December that there was a 90% chance she was carrying a cancerous growth within her.  Already a one time cancer survivor, this was hard news.  Routine testing a few days later suggested that it may have spread, metastasized.  If so, this would have assured a devastating stage four status, a long and difficult road ahead, much uncertainty.

Then we learned that due to the need for two surgeries and the necessary healing time in between, it would be 21 weeks before we would know.  An oncologist ascribed percentages and we were not uplifted.

The first diagnosis after the first surgery confirmed the initial prediction.  It was cancer.  Recovery took place.  Then the second surgery.  Then more waiting.  Waiting.

Today… as we sat in the surgeon’s office anticipating the door already tipped ajar to widen and mark his entrance…

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Cathedrals of Our Own

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“They say that these are not the best of times
But they’re the only times I’ve ever known
And I believe there is a time for meditation
In cathedrals of our own”

“Summer Highland Falls” – Billy Joel

I’ve had occasion to spend time in a hospital chapel over the past few months.  It’s a chapel I’ve known well and for many years, having frequented it maybe 20 years or so ago.  The chapel of that era was Christian- themed (Catholic more specifically), complete with a tabernacle, repository to the Sacred Eucharist.  A crucifix overlooked an altar, kneelers lined the periphery, a broad bound red book containing scripture rested upon a lectionary podium stand.  And a statuette of Mary overlooked the entire setting.  It was familiar and comforting.

The world has changed in those 20 years.  So too has the chapel.

Today, symbols of every major world religion adorn a redesigned spherical ceiling.  The tabernacle is gone, the only crucifix is a painted one on the ceiling, the kneelers have been pushed toward the rear, the red book is on a shelf.  There’s no Mary anywhere to be found.

This saddened me.  It was unfamiliar.  I was not comforted. Continue reading

The View From Inside

This photograph is from the inside of a church near my Alma Mater. I had driven by the outside of it hundreds of times, always wondering what lay inside. In the morning, the sunrise’s golden glow bathes the circular stain glass window, illuminating its many colors and details. On many occasions I wanted to stop my Impreza and walk inside to take a photograph, but I never did. It ended up taking a longtime and number of random experiences before I found myself inside that church.

Every time I see this image, I remember how badly I wanted to venture inside the church to find out what it looked like and how I waited so long to do so. Maybe next time, it won’t take me so long to enjoy the view from inside.

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