“Did we move to Seattle and I missed it?” I had quipped to my wife. Looking out my window this morning it seemed it had been raining everyday for the past two weeks.
Which wasn’t true of course, there had been a small break in the rain a couple of days ago, and yesterday was beautiful. Still, the feeling was persistent.
A Family Outing
Just prior to my trip to Arlington I had purchased a new mountain bike, and since returning I had been chomping at the bit to start breaking it in. So on the first sunny evening that came about I began the process of tuning up all of our family’s bicycles for the season. Tightening handle bars, seats, and tires. One by one I worked my way through them all four bikes in ascending order. Smallest to biggest.
I listened to P.O.D. while I worked.
After wrapping things up we headed out to explore the village. Skirting the streets of the block surrounding our house, and pausing to tumble on the playground. A welcome break for the kids, as they’ve been hard at work navigating the challenges of Common Core. The spring air did them well.
Along our path I secretly spotted a secluded stand of trees nestled quietly away between two sets of residences. Lost in the surrounding foliage was the steep descent of a draw that burrowed itself into the landscape. An ideal space for daily respite. I had been looking for a place to center my mind, a secluded spot to reconnect with the wild.
I’ve found that having a balanced relationship with nature is an essential part of maintaining my well being. So I was overjoyed with my discovery.
Yesterday I had the chance to explore my new found gem.
After tucking away my bike to ensure privacy, I quietly placed my backpack down, took out my Bible, and set it aside to rest for a moment. Then, using my empty pack as a seat, I settled into my new spot, closed my eyes and let the world drift away as the sounds of nature fed new life to my bones.
The chorus of song birds in the canopy over head was enchanting. As I meditated on my surroundings, my senses slowly began to focus on the world around me. After some time passed I opened my eyes and let them feast on the splendor that filled my sight.
Stillness and quietude are the key ingredients of inviting any conversation with nature. It wasn’t long before she sprang to life. A small bird danced, at arms reach, through the foliage nearby. The spiders played acrobatically in their webs.
I breathed. The morning sun warmed my face. Cast in green hue over the landscape.
A lone dandelion lent its beauty to the scene.
I reached for my Bible, invited God into the space, and read from Romans chapter 12 verses 1-2.
…I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable essential worship. Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete. -The Voice
As I reflected on the passage I was reminded that, because I’m a man living and working in an information age, I’m especially at risk of conforming to a standard misaligned with that of the living God.
Existing in an age of distraction and competing ideals, and in a time that provides so little room for self reflection, I’ve at times found it challenging to see the impact my environment has had on my sense of well being.
In my experience, I’ve found that when I lack diligence my thoughts and actions share an insidious relationship with the bureaucratic, political, and social systems I’ve had to navigate each day. In the past this type of complacency has taken a heavy toll on my mental, physical, and spiritual health.
As God’s word spoke to me that day I was reminded that as a Christian I’m called to not be molded by the systems that impact my life, but to focus my mind on Christ, and shape them in a way that serves in harmony with nature to enhance life for all of creation.
Thanks be to God.