by Tom Steigerwald
“The latest monthly meeting of the youth group brought together once more our young friends, including Junior, Marionel, and Eli, joined by Fr. Paul, Julian, and myself. This month we escaped for a few hours from the noise and lights of the city to take in the thoughtful vision of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado at his new exhibit, “Genesis,” a series of black and white photographs, taken over three years, of grand but fragile and threatened natural beauty, and native peoples working out a living in those parts of the world as yet untainted by civilization.
We spent a wonderful two hours in this exhibit, where each of us felt drawn to different images. We looked through the artist’s lens at a winding river-scape and wondered if any reason guided its seemingly inefficient course, marveled at the harmony between a woman and the untamed land that was both her source of life and an unpredictable danger, and wondered what two men keeping watch over a great valley thought about their place in the universe.
At the end each one shared a favorite image and what moved him most about it, and I was impressed by the depth and thoughtfulness of the boys’ comments. But even more moving was how at ease they were with sharing their thoughts: even the shy ones felt comfortable exposing their thoughts to their peers, without fear of being made fun of. I think this is one of the ways they feel loved by Heart’s Home, and it’s why they keep coming back: they can be themselves here without worrying about being rejected. I look forward to the next youth group meeting, and so do they!”