I recently re-visited “my spot”. My spot is a stump, up on a hill, a couple miles from my home. So many summer evenings I have gone to this place to sit and be still, and now that the snow has been melting I was able to jump from patch to patch of dry ground in order to climb to my little stump. I sat there and looked over those same familiar unchanging mountain ranges that have been my source of solitude over the years and I was struck with a thought.
We human beings get so caught up in life that we forget to live. We become so full of cares, media and responsibilities that places in nature becomes a destination, an A or B point, and it's quiet declaration is inevitably ignored. The “magic” nature held when we were children is no longer something to be discovered or experienced. We allow our minds to be crowded. I know it takes me a lot longer to sit still and pray than it ever did as a child.
How ironic that children are known for their short attention spans. And yet, if we were honest, I am sure we would realize that as adults we can be much worse off than children. At least when they are captivated by something their entire utmost is given to it. We multi-task. We politely listen and never hear a word. We condition ourselves to skim-read (as long as there are pictures), click one tab to another. The concept of time is entirely missed and the every day simplicity goes unnoticed. We function instead of live. We do instead of experience. We are filled but the flavor and aesthetic beauty is unperceived and therefore unappreciated. Nature goes unheard.
Music becomes noise, rain is just the weather, and books are unappetizing dry words with a hardcover crust. The heavens declare the glory of God but no-one hears because we never stop to look or listen. The firmament shows His handiwork but we are blind to the stars. Day unto day utters speech and night unto night speaks a knowledge that surpasses the bonds of human language – but we subject ourselves to the roar of our own thoughts. Strategy, vocabulary, studying, composing, teaching, creating – all these things become tedious and our cravings change with our habits. We find blogging, tweeting, facebooking, T.V., more appealing and reality becomes monotonous.
But, when I sat there on the stump I realized why Nature can become appealing to us. When we force ourselves to step out of the fast lane and breathe, suddenly nature is noticed...we can hear it and it gnaws at our created soul. Words become beautiful, music stirs emotions, rain is a detail, a harmonious expression. Nature's line is gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world and we can be conscious of it. Sunrises are more than the start of a day, but a work of art, created to be appreciated and rejoiced in. Nature is fresh, simple, raw, child-like, satisfying. You can breathe it, touch it, freely without conditions. It offers instead of takes. Even those who choose not to believe in God can climb a mountain, close their eyes and breathe communion...His creation is so close to who He is. It declares Him and our subliminal can't help but desire to hear.
There is more to life than functioning. God created beauty for our benefit, He actually asks us to be still and know. This thought has been a helpful reminder to me every time I am tempted to allow my mind to become overwhelmed with my “to do” list. I hope it has been a help to you too.
“...Enjoyment of music, of exquisite art, the reverent study of the great questions of life, of the wonders of nature whose powers it was given man to study and cultivate and develop – it is surely no irreverence to think of [Christ] both enjoying and gracing such a life, for such was the original plan of human life as thought out by a gracious Creator.” – S.D. Gordon Quiet Talks, 29