Earlier today, I went on an adventure with several teenage students from our church. It wasn’t necessarily a wild and crazy adventure to the wiles and unknown of this world. We went to a little section of greenway located conveniently behind the property of our church. However, where there are a few trails, cliffs, and creeks, adventuresome times can be had.
Far too many people today are numb to the world around them. Constantly bombarded with phones, TVs, computers, internet gadgets, and radios (really? did radios just come to my mind? do people still listen to those?), it is difficult for people to quiet themselves enough to enjoy what is around them. If I am at my computer working on a lesson, writing, or reading, it can be difficult to go five or ten minutes without checking facebook or twitter. It is an awful addiction that I am beginning to loathe and despise. I believe that since the inception of twitter and facebook, my attention span has gone missing (Oh, sometimes I miss you dearly. Thanks for being there last night as I made it through John Carter). I am now on a mission to recover the fine art of concentration. I don’t want to be numb to my surroundings. I don’t want to miss the wonderful creation that God has given me to enjoy. I don’t want to miss my children making profound statements (although sometimes it is great to capture these moments in video). I want them to realize that my interest for them is greater than what some pastor/celebrity/#guyjustfollowedontwitterbecausehefollowedmefirst is doing at the moment.
I am reading through Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson. The High School Students at Western Avenue are watching the movie on Wednesday nights, and discussing topics that Nate (aka N.D. Wilson) is bringing to our attention. The latest installment had us wrestling with philosophy. What is reality? What is real? What is the essence of that orange tree? These questions arise out of the lips of balded headed men with beards and ladies with ascots and thick glasses, sitting in classrooms with desks and chalkboards. So, today we actually went outside to see some real stuff.
1. I found myself looking in amazement at weeds. Most of the time we are trying to get rid of these things from our gardens. But, if left alone, they can be pretty beautiful and amazing. I will no longer think of them as nuisances. But, I still want to enjoy them somewhere other than my flower garden.
2. There are so many sounds that I ignore – Crickets chirping in rhythm (I was wondering if they were having a concert or a contest to see who could go the longest); wind through the leaves; birds calling back and forth (what are they going on and on about?); Running water over rocks is very soothing (those people who make baby toys must spend lots of time outside).
3. Dragonflies are beautiful (see for yourself), but very hard to capture (with hands and with camera).
4. Even if you check to make sure the vine is stable before you swing on it, it might not be stable.
5. I walked into a spider web and began to feel bad for destroying the poor spider’s home. I wouldn’t want some thunder-footed ogre carelessly walking through my house, leaving bits of it on his face, as he trudged by. I was, however, reminded that I could have saved the lives of many insects. So, I began to feel a bit heroic. Plus, I didn’t feel so bad when I realized that everything required to rebuild the house is readily available from the spider’s own behind.
6. In nature, there is always a mixture of life and death. Life sometimes even rises out of death. Beauty from destruction. This world though it seems so alive to me today is really groaning to be restored. If this world with all of its magnificence is fallen, my mind cannot even begin to comprehend what it will be like when it is restored.
None of the things we did this morning were actually spectacular. But, that is the point isn’t it? Why do I not think that a weed down by the creek bank is spectacular? Why can I not look at blades of grass for hours and hours and be mesmerized? I have even become numb to creation. There is an incredible amount of creation. There are so many trees, so many leaves, so many bugs. After a while, they all start to blend in with one another. I take them for granted. Why do I think that going to a small creek in a small town would be unspectacular? Because, I can see this stuff anytime, all the time.
But, what makes it so spectacular is the fact that it was all spoken into existence. There is not one leaf, one rock, one bug, one anything that God does not care about it. What makes creation so spectacular is that at one time it did not exist. Then God said some words and things became real – trees became real, dirt became real, water became real, we became real.
Be amazed at this world. Be amazed at the God who spoke this world into existence – who still speaks this world into existence. There are many things here to see, to see again, and to explore. Beware the numbness.