Monday, April 13

Seminary Diaries: time for delight

Last week, NPR did a radio show on the effects of play, especially in adulthood.  Studies show those who play have less depression and anxiety, and stronger, more fulfilling interpersonal relationships.  I have seen this to be true.  My three dogs are happiest when they are romping through the grass, bounding over the sheets on the bed, and chasing hard after their favorite ball.  Find them dog-piling one another, biting each other's ears, or growling like fierce bears, and you're sure to see the image of joy.

I thought about this only briefly during my busy and stressful week.  I contemplated what "play" even looked like for me.  Then in class this morning, the assignment was to take 60 mindful minutes with God.  We were to sit, alone, in the quiet, and wait for His response.  No analyzing, no worrying about registration, no planning.  Just resting.

As I sat, I looked at the nearby stream, small pond, and bullfrog watering hole.  I saw many birds and geese, the new grass waving in the wind, a clear sky as blue as the ocean, and a lone tree full of new flowering buds.  I felt Jesus sit next to me and say, 'My Father made this'.  I delighted in that idea and delighted in the beauty of spring.  I adored the warmth of the sun, the newness of spring, and the creativity in birds' wings and songs.  I thought, 'The beauty of God--the part I forget to think about--is reflected in nature, in the images around me'.  Then, He said, "My beauty is reflected in you'.

I hadn't thought about it ever this way before.  No, instead I worry about my new haircut, the speech I've been writing for weeks, and sitting with clients.  I worry about my classes and grades, my clothes and shape, and I miss the fact that just being me reveals the beauty of our Father.  When I sit in nature or watch animals, I don' think "what can you give me today? Or what can I get out of you?". I think "you are beautiful, just like this".  And, so does He.

So, with reckless abandon, I kicked off my professional high-heels and traded them for the farm-girl feet of my youth and headed for that beautiful tree.  With bare-feet, I smashed my toes in the mud, kicked the wet grass, and looked up high above me for the birds overhead.  Though it wasn't the assignment and though there were people all over to see, I stepped into the freedom of God's beauty within me, frolicked toward the tree, and sniffed her flowers. 

For a few, short minutes, I played.


1 comment:

  1. So true, I love reflecting in nature and just taking in a lung-full of fresh oxygen. Sunshine on a calm, spring day can refresh your soul and mind I believe. Nature is the handiwork of a even more awesome God!