One of my favorite pictures of me as a boy is of me walking alone on a northern Michigan trail around the small lake that my grandparents lived on. I am standing alone, comfortable in my surroundings, with a beautiful fern frond in my hand. If I don’t specifically remember that scene, I remember many like it. In one I am walking or running alone on a Lake Michigan beach, separated from my family by a few hundred yards, and alone in swirl of creative thoughts, songs, and amusement. In another, we are hiking at a State park and I am running – running with pure joy on my face as I dodge maples, jump over fallen birches, and crash through crackling leaves with no other purpose then to really feel alive.
I realize now that I was worshiping. Sometimes I actually was thinking about God. At other times just the fact that I felt more alive, more HUMAN, was reflecting glory to God. Here I am reminded of that quote from Iraneous that the glory of God is man fully alive.
Often, as my mom used to say, I just needed to be alone.
Soon, I realized that I was an extrovert, and I often succombed to the silent pressure for all to become extroverts. I would never have expressed that I enjoyed being alone, but as I reflect back on it, I always found a way to get there. Although I think I would have survived high school a lot more easily if I had taken even more time to be alone.
Nature is a space I have often sought for experiencing God. I live in the suburbs, so I have to drive to get somewhere really pretty, but I am learning to heed the call to find God spaces that are near me. There is a drainage ditch that runs through the middle of my subdivision. It is about 30 yards wide. Well, because it hardly even rains here in Texas, it is almost always dry. There, I go sometimes with a camp chair and just sit under the trees, watch and listen to the crackling leaves, and allow the embers of humanity to ignite into a heart blazing with love and wonder for my Love, my Creator, my Savior.