Each season of the year, I would find God’s amazing beauty when traipsing around Ault Park in Cincinnati. When I was living in Cincinnati, I would make special trips across town to see the blooms in spring, the snow in winter, and the leaves as they transform in autumn’s golden hues.
One photograph I took at Ault Park was through an ornate metal cylinder. It overlooked lower lands on Cincinnati’s East Side. I was able to take the picture so that the cylinder framed the bright landscape on the other side, and then used some photograph filters to make the colors pop even more. The darkness of the tube contrasted the bright landscape on the far side of the photograph. It looked as though someone was going through a tunnel and arriving at a land akin to Oz.
A friend of mine expressed the way she saw the photograph: it was like emerging from the shadow-filled tunnel of depression. Low moods will often feel like the gloom of tunnels, and when that time is over, everything seems much brighter.
Anytime we emerge from a tough time, life seems so much brighter—whether it’s after a loss, after a physical illness, or when psychological illness is effectively being treated. When I would have surgery, I know I would feel stronger each day, and with the added energy, I would feel like I was emerging from a similar tunnel.
Right now, as we are receiving our vaccines and slowly but steadily emerging from the cocoon of the past year, I experience this same sense of leaving the shadow- filled tunnel. The days are warmer, the trees are blooming, and we are beginning to congregate more often. The first Sunday back at our 4pm service outdoors felt glorious as it was mild and sunny. Seeing your cheery, mask-filled faces brought a sense of joy to us!
To me, emerging from the wilderness tunnel is an image of Easter. Jesus the Christ is exiting a lightless, isolating tomb and re- entering a world that is bright and full of life. Resurrection is something that we have all experienced at various points of our lives, and I’m pretty sure that we will not escape this life without a couple of major wilderness stints. The joy that comes with the revival of our souls that follows is a gift.
Easter gives us the chance to name the times we’ve emerged from tunnels and tombs. This is the season that we give thanks for the bright, vivid scenes of the garden where Jesus the Christ sits, reminding us that there is a new beginning around the corner.