Image © Santiago Borja / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year: see this year’s winning images at: https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2016/12/winners-of-the-2016-national-geographic-nature-photographer-of-the-year-contest/510350/.

Advent Day Nineteen | Anguish

“The nuns taught us there are two ways through life, the way of Nature and the way of Grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow. 

Grace doesn’t try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries.

Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things.”

-Terrence Malik, the Tree of Life

The pain of our world haunts me. It angers me. It taunts me. Even now, goodness? Even now, love? Even now, God?

Aleppo. What is happening? All of those lives. All of that pain. All of that destruction.

Sandy hook. I woke thinking of you. Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Amelie, Benjamin, Allison, Rachel, Anne Marie, Dawn, Lauren, Mary and Victoria. And, you Nancy. And even you Adam. Even you. What happened? All of those lives. All of that pain. All of that destruction.

Millie. Every day. Every day I remember you. Every day. What happened?

Nature or grace? Nature or grace? Nature or grace?

There is so much beauty in the world. Undeniable, profound, devastating beauty. The Lord gives. But, there is also so much pain. Undeniable, profound, devestating pain. The Lord takes away.

Nature and grace. Nature and grace. Nature and grace.

They only work together. That’s why it’s so devastating. That’s why it’s so undeniably, profoundly, beautiful.

Even now. Love. Even now. God.

__________________________

Image © Santiago Borja / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year: see this year’s winning images at: https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2016/12/winners-of-the-2016-national-geographic-nature-photographer-of-the-year-contest/510350/.

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