Recently I have been wrestling with a deep (and unnecessary) disappointment, a let-down that pressed hard on still-tender tissue beneath old scars. Things didn’t have to go this way, and yet they did and I’ve done all I can do.
I have also noticed something interesting in my response to this turn of events: I want to get lost in nature. Not just my usual walks around the neighborhood, but hiking on winding trails. I want to take deep breaths of fresh air. I want to weave among trees and catch water views. I want to absorb the landscapes of this world through my eyes and my pores as sunlight soaks my skin.
We took a day-trip to Yosemite National Park, a twelve-hour round-trip for a 2-hour / six-mile hike. A long day, and still worth it. I’ve hiked with friends, my husband, and our dogs, here and there around our community.
I hear the Psalmist’s words echoing through my body: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
Being outside, witnessing the beginning of another change of seasons, noticing the emergence of flowers and grasses that must have grown taller since the last time I passed, I lift my eyes up … and down and around. I recognize that I need help, that I’m out here because I need help. I recognize just how much the world needs help. My neighbors and friends need help. Strangers I will never meet need help. Those who hurt me, however (un)intentionally, need help.
I also recognize that help comes from the Lord. The One who created such beauty in the diversity of plants and trees and animals—daffodils, grape hyacinths, heather, oak trees and plum trees, Great Blue Herons and Red Tailed Hawks, gnats and newts (okay, maybe gnats shouldn’t count as beautiful?)—the One who created human beings in God’s own image—is willing and able to help. The One who lavished beauty on earth has done wonders … is doing and will do wonders.
I’m grateful that some of God’s marvelous wonders have been made visible to my eyes. When I make the effort to put on my shoes and get outside, I see wonders that remind me that God loves me, loves us, loves the world so much. I feel like a little kid stretching my arms wide, wriggling my fingers as I exclaim: “God loves me THIS much!” I remember that God has a plan and God’s in control. I don’t understand the plan, at least not today, and I don’t have to. I have to trust. I need to be patient. I will keep doing the next right thing.
The next right thing, as I attempt to unwind my heart, is walking out my door, down the street, and onto the trails. And there, I find beauty. I find God, the Maker of heaven and earth, and God offers peace.
Five Minute Friday prompt: PEACE