Recently, I drove to my nearest hiking trail, took a good book with me, and rested in the trail's beginning point, basking in the heated sunlight.
I didn't actually plan on walking at all, I simply wanted to be outdoors, in nature, reading a book.
It's sometimes so beneficial to solely take the time.
Earlier, I thought my day was going to be full of people, small talk, and racing all around town. But God had other plans.
I needed to get still.
It's one of my favorite things to do. To be outside in nature, whether it's a desert landscape like my hometown, or a faintly green hillside in the valleys of Southern California. It's so nice to breath air outside the four walls of the caves we cling to.
And so, I sat down with my good book.
I also had a prime view of all the new visitors intently making their way into the trail. Some were men with neon biker shorts, playing Kelly Clarkson, from their armband music player, others were ladies with softly shaped baseball caps and water bottles in hand, Some were with friends. And some were families with kids.
I thought to myself, how precious is this? That these families are taking the time to simply be with their young kids, while they're still young.
This one father was with his two younger boys. They looked to be about 6 and 10 years old. The boys both had walking sticks with them, and the dad had a backpack on.
I couldn't quite hear the conversation happening between the three of them. But the boys seemed to be in heaven, while they jumped around and tried to use their walking sticks as swords. The dad was peaceful and happy. He was the sun in the story. And the boys orbited around him effortlessly as they continuously walked forward on the trail.
It was such a beautiful picture.
But everyone, even the friends, the families, those walking alone, or in packs--they all had a hurried walk about them. Much like the walkers you see in New York City. There was a deep sense of focused purpose, while walking towards the trail.
It was an odd cocktail, a sense of anticipation mixed with irritation and subtle intensity.
And as I sat there with my book, the sunlight began to clear my eyes. And about an hour later, I would begin to see the same people I saw arrive, now beginning to exit.
And it was like a night and day vision.
The intensity, the irritability and the agitation that had cloaked them, had somehow disintegrated.
The anticipation was still there in their eyes but with a calm sense of reverence about them.
It was clear.
They had been readjusted.
Looking at and breathing in things that are larger than you, changes you.
The funny thing is, I don't know how aware these people were of their own transformation.
But they gave me a clue into my own.
I realized that my own body was feeling relaxed, as if I had had a massage in the realm of my emotions. Upon arriving at the trail, I honestly didn't know how tense I was.
Before coming, I'd simply thought it was a good idea to get some sunlight and a bit of reading done. But it became clear, I had also been worried about a few things. And now, sitting at the trail an hour later, I was no longer consumed with how these things would be resolved, but had peace that they would be.
I love that God has a way of calming us down.
Especially through nature.
There's probably a park, a trail, or even just a road slightly outside of your city limits that leads to wide open spaces. I encourage you to visit one of them this week.
Sometimes a change of scenery helps to change and reset our perspective and open our hearts for the good things God wants to give us.
And He [Jesus] arose, and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea,
“Peace, be still.”
And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
- Mark 4:39