I took this photo at La Salle above the St. Joseph Grotto during a retreat in 2011. The contrast first caught my eye, but I loved the sense of spirit between the man made representation of St. Joseph and the God made tree. I used it in my blog on hope and then never gave it much more thought.
In 2017 I attended a service at that grotto commemorating the Feast of St. Joseph as well as the 2nd year anniversary of Brother Marvin’s death. I brought a framed copy of the photo t as a gift to La Salle. After the service, Mike Sawicki, President of La Salle, and I stood at the grotto and noticed that the tree was gone. We discussed how many trees were lost in the last few years to storms and disease.
We left and went up the hill toward the retreat center. At the top of the hill I turned for a last look at the statue of St Joseph t on top of the grotto. Joy filled my heart to see the tree behind the statue just as in the picture. I had to walk back a bit to understand why we had not seen it before. It hit me that just as many things in life, we were too close see the truth. The tree stands 500 yards past the grotto inside a small forest.