Monday, March 4, 2013

From death to life again

This is a very tiny piece of the view from my brother-in-law's apartment in Jersey City.  We were there for the weekend to celebrate the wedding of his daughter, our niece, to a delightful Australian man (the wedding itself had happened in Australia in January).

It was a lovely weekend, with some predictably touching moments (plus the usual amusing ones that happen when large families gather) and lots of opportunities to see what the world is like beyond my narrow field of view.

Some of it is lush and beautiful like this, but lots more is harsh and abandoned; many of the stores I remember from earlier visits are now empty and boarded up.  On the other hand, I'm certain that where these buildings now stand was once a desert of warehouses and hoboes and homeless people. 

What do we do with this understanding we have -- that some things inevitably decay, and much of what has fallen rises again in new form?  These are questions we are meant to be exploring during this season of Lent, I believe: it's good to notice what seems to be falling away -- and our resistance to that.  Good, also, to remind ourselves that many things fresh and new have been built precisely because of what has fallen away.   And -- having written that -- I find myself thinking about the Pope's retirement.  What, I wonder, will be born out of that loss?

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