My son and I made it to California. And in case you are curious about our progress on the afore-mentioned Rosetta Stone Marathon Plan, neither of us know any more German than we did before we left Springfield. Sigh. We made it here in 3 long days, but the hardest day, by far, was the stretch from Topeka, Kansas, to Boulder, Colorado. It was 9 hours of nothing: no signal which meant nothing to listen to, nothing to read, nothing to watch and on top of that, nothing to look at (except the plains of Kansas–which equals pretty much nothing. Sorry Kansas.)
This day stood in stark contrast to the following day where we had full signal most of the time and the topography was breath-taking around every windy turn. In fact, it was so beautiful to look at that I didn’t even need to listen to or watch anything. I just wanted to take in the scenery and let it touch my soul. This confounded and I sensed, sort of bothered, my son. He had headphones in and would alternate listening to music or watching movies on his laptop as if he were making up for lost time. He kept reminding me that I was free to listen to the radio or pair my Bluetooth to the car speakers.
If you happen to be a Seinfeld fan, there is a scene where Elaine’s boyfriend, David Puddy, is flying with her on a trip. As time passes, she becomes more and more irritated that he clearly has brought nothing to do. He just sits in his seat and stares at the seat-back in front of him, contentedly. Eventually her agitation becomes unbearable. She yells, “So, you’re just going to sit there and stare for the rest of the flight!?!?” He says, dumbly, “Ya, that’s right.” And despite her meager efforts to bite her tongue and mind her own business, she snaps and tells him that she can’t take it anymore and that they need to break up. I was waiting for a similar outburst from Berkeley. It’s possible that I may have put headphones in without pushing play, just to avoid such a scene. Call me simple, but I just didn’t need, or want, to do anything but look around.
Observing nature, especially views that are not ones I see every day, help me connect with God. And that’s really the way He designed it to be. What is seen in His creation is evidence of what is not seen.
Romans 1:20 says that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. So we are without excuse.” He is Spirit, but what He has created represents Him and is a visible stamp of His existence. Being in nature does for me what yoga is supposed to do for other people; It clears my head and mind, leaving it open to spiritual things. I am focused on the beauty around me rather than the bills, my job, my to-do list, my weight, my past or my future.
Maybe you are like my husband and are what he refers to as “indoorsy”. When I suggest we go outside to do pretty much anything but travel to another inside location, he has been known to say, “there’s nothing for me out there.” And that’s OK (weird, but OK 😉). But it’s still possible for him, and for you, to appreciate nature. (Through a window and from a cozy, bug-free, and temperature controlled indoor environment). Maybe you can’t stare for hours without distraction, but this world is a gift to you. Maybe today, try to see God where you live, through what he has designed especially for people in your particular part of the world to enjoy.
Today I am at the beach in California, so any amateur can find something amazing about that. But even in Illinois from whence I traveled, I can celebrate cardinals (they don’t have those out here as far as I can tell) and fire-flies and even locusts.
I can see God’s hand in the corn fields and sunsets across the flat plains. I can embrace the weather that is distinct to the Midwest-humidity and sub-zero temperatures… Well, I am not sure I am spiritually mature enough to be grateful for those components of His creation just yet.
In the over-load of life, maybe take time to just observe. Just “listen” to the world without the music or the media. And then thank Him. Thank Him that He put it there so you would see it and know in your heart that He made it just for you to.