When I was a teenager I went with some friends from school on a day trip to the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney. We were organising members of the school’s “Christian society” called Students Alive (or “STIVE”). At the time I felt rather awkward, because my friends were awe-struck by the majesty of God’s creation, while I (in typically inept cradle Catholic style) just boggled at them, thinking “what’s so great about trees and rocks?”.
That was about seven years ago, and since then I have become a sort of man. I am very grateful to God for somehow nudging me into this hobby of photography, because it was only when I started scrutinising my photos that I learned to appreciate their subjects. In fact, it didn’t take very long to make the jump between gauging my skill in composition and appreciating the absolute mastery of the Divine Composer. I can frame a twilight sky over Kofu, but it was the Lord who first imagined twilight.
The shots above were taken last Monday, about twenty minutes’ stroll from my dormitory (laughing and chatting with friends). Though I squandered my summer with vanities, the same Lord has given me autumn and winter to collect a lifetime of memories. When I go home, perhaps I will finally be able to appreciate all the small wonders previously invisible to me. Maybe when I go to the Blue Mountains I will see more than just rocks and trees – even more than just a bunch of pretty colours to capture, showing off my skill.
On Thursday I turned 24. About twenty of us went to eat Yakiniku (Japanese barbecue). I met all but three here over the last eight months. In two more months I will leave Japan, perhaps never to return – will I see any of these people again in this life? Will I have nothing left of them but happy memories, until (God willing) we meet again to share eternity? We are very blessed now with the internet, which has allowed me to speak to my family face to face over this past year, and will allow for more of the same with these new friends… but the internet won’t take me to France for Pierre’s recital, or to Kyoto for Kanako’s wedding.
Well, like I told Mai last week, we have only so much lifetime given to us and must decide how best to use it. I hope that I will somehow be able to travel about from time to time, especially to share those most important events in my friends’ lives, but if (like the ancient hermits and not so ancient missionaries) I must give up household, and title, and comfort, and friends… well, this world is but passing, and a glorious eternity awaits.