Wandering through the courtyard of Templo de San Nicolás Bari, I come across an overflowing trash can. Foam cups and plates form the top layer of the castoffs. On the concrete patio surrounding the container are the broken, browning remnants of flower arrangements, probably made by my friend Ana Cristina, that once graced the altar in the church.
The trash can tells a story, a story that everyone knows, the story of things falling apart.
The anonymous author of Psalm 103 knew the story: As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more (verses 15-16, King James Version).
Nothing lasts forever. Everything has an expiration date. Everything falls apart.
Everywhere in the world—in cities, towns, and villages—things are falling apart.
Everywhere in the world, trash cans overflow with castoffs.
Where in the world will this holiday season find you? In Rome? Beijing? Guadalajara?
Wherever your travels take you, may you find more treasure than trash!
three days till Christmas—
even the courtyard sparrows
hardly sleep at night
Text and photo © 2016 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved