I continue to struggle with what to say these days: with so many bad choices, hurtful orders, and childish displays coming from the White House, it seems irresponsible not to comment on them — but many others more qualified than I are providing cogent commentary. At the moment I have nothing to add other than a reminder that we who believe Christ calls us to welcome the stranger and care for the poor know who we are, and what we must do. There may be little we can do about what’s happening in Washington until the next election, but we can hold on to the virtue of truth, continue being the church, and reach out to our communities with compassion for all and prejudice toward none.
And, in the midst of our well-warranted anxieties, we can take time to appreciate the beauty of the world and the people around us, or to recall happier times. I’ve been doing both lately. Last summer, Susan and I were fortunate enough to spend a few days hiking in Glacier National Park, which overlaps the border between northern Montana and Canada. Global warming is melting the park’s namesake glaciers so quickly that they may be gone completely within three or four years, but the vistas remain stunning for now. Susan and I brought back cherished memories, along with a ton of photographs.
One of my favorite places was St. Mary Falls, a hefty hike off the main road and about halfway to Virginia Falls, higher up in the mountains. We stood to absorb the view, feel the spray, and smell the air on the way up as well as on the way back. We also took pictures, of course. When we repainted our bathroom a few months back, we had enlarged canvas prints made from several photos and used them to decorate the walls.
A 16″ X 20″ photo of St. Mary Falls hangs over the toilet, so for obvious reasons I end up looking at it more closely and more often than most pictures. A few weeks after we hung the picture, I realized that a man’s face was staring back. It’s a trick of angles, light, and cracks in the rock, I know, but there he is, just to the right of a triangular tuft of moss, admiring the view.
I call it an alternative face, and I contend that the rock must be sending a message that despite it all, the world is bigger than any man’s ego, and still an amazing place for those who have eyes to see.