A Day That Couldn’t Be Ignored
This morning I decided to treat myself. I really should have worked and written all day but it was an amazing morning. Amazing! On the first day of August at 8AM it was 62 degrees and cloudless.
If I could have ordered a day in a catalog it couldn’t have been better. But to have such a day surprise us in the middle of a long, hot summer made it more precious, a gift too valuable to waste.
On such a day anything is possible. Nothing is too far to reach. You can achieve miracles. You believe in the beauty of life, the victory of good over evil and that love will triumph. The idea of sitting in a messy office all day was the only impossible thing I could imagine.
Unfortunately, I was alone. Suzie had to work. My son was busy. Whatever I was going to do it would be solo. I don’t really mind being alone. It gives me time to think, time to let my mind unwind and spin easily.
Having such a beautiful day all to myself, however, I was going to have to work hard at not feeling guilty. Okay, maybe not that hard.
So much has been written about the restorative power of being in nature – the anti-depressive quality, the stress relief and health benefits of activity – that I shouldn’t have to mention it here except for one thing. Invariably, consistently all of those studies leave out one thing:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
~Jesus, Matthew 10:29 (NIV)
They will never, ever mention God.
If you connect the vast complexity and detailed co-dependancy of nature with the powerful creativity and care of the Creator then nature is infused with the richness of purpose and meaning. The benefits are multiplied.
I headed out in a direction I hadn’t been in a long time to explore. I took Lewisburg Pike out of Colombia with a vague plan to find the state park Suzie and I had seen once years ago. As I marveled at the brilliant sky and lack of humidity, I rose through a set of ridges. Just beyond a bridge over a deep gorge that intrigued me, I saw a sign proclaiming Stillhouse Hollow Falls State Natural Area.
That’s all the information I needed to stop. At the trailhead I found a map and signs indicating a short walk and two trails but I knew better. The sign didn’t show the 175 feet of elevation change. It was like hiking seven tenths of a mile down a seventeen story building . . . and back up.
The last sentence combines both bragging and complaining, each equally being the explorer’s favorite pastimes.
But was it worth it? A 75 foot, crystal-clear, ice-cold waterfall on a perfect day? I think so . . .
The Day’s Rewards
I didn’t worry. Nature turns off the worry button.
I didn’t get angry – not even at the news. You know the news. I didn’t even think about it.
I exercised and I didn’t even mind! Two miles and a 17 story building worth of up and down means I’m sore today but it was far more fun than the gym.
I saw wildlife: some beautiful spider webs, a tiny praying mantis, a baby brown thrush from two feet away and a squirrel. Nature is full of surprises.
I was reminded that God is in charge of all, no matter how I fail. I was left with a peace and joy that have lasted long enough to crank my stress levels down and let my faith shine through.
I was pulled outside of myself and my spinning brain and my small perspective. My problems got smaller with the bigger perspective. I can close my eyes and go back there in my memory knowing that the real thing is out there right this moment, waiting for me to return.
I can’t wait . . .