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Lying on a rock at the top of Simpson Hill, I could see the clear, blue sky through the pine needles.  Everything in me relaxed- more like ‘let go’.   “Thank you.”  The words seemed to fall out of my lips.  All I felt was an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  “Thank you, this is it. This is why.”

For as long as I can remember, I have retreated to the woods at every opportunity.
It was away, but not just away.
It was going to something and feeling connected.
I was alone, but not alone.
Somehow very full and yet seeking more.

I would take hammock, blanket, water and of course my Bible and usually a journal, find a peaceful place, by a stream whenever possible, and crash.  More often than not, I would not take out the Bible or the journal.  When I didn’t I would feel a sense of guilt as if I was not trying hard enough to connect with God and was not giving Him every opportunity to speak to me.  On the days when I was able to ignore the nagging guilt, I would often just fall asleep, awake refreshed and slowly make my way home.  I didn’t know what had happened, but it was good and my heart was full.

The day atop Simpson Hill, I realized that deep gratitude opens my heart immediately, almost violently.

This is home.  This is where my heart rests.  This is where I am open, connected, available.  It is here that God has access to me.  My mind may not know what or how, but something is changed.  Something has happened inside that shapes me, recreates me, prepares me and gives me the hope to go on.

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