Monday, July 12

On the first day of my “notice and discover” practice, this word – Wildwood – caught my attention on my morning walk. Thoughts and memories of Wildwood Metropark in Toledo immediately came to mind. My friend Nancy and I walked the paths at Wildwood quite often when we lived in the area.

Nancy and I met every other week to hike and talk about life. We sought to make our time together a spiritual one; we often talked of our joys and sorrows, shared the ways we felt God was moving in our lives, and then held each other in prayer until our next hike. We walked in comfortable and comforting companionship through some very difficult trials. We uplifted one another by speaking words of encouragement, and at times, by pointing out a particular gift of nature, such as a bird, a flower, or a special scene we had noticed. In every walk, through every season, we always felt the goodness of God. I would come away inspired and renewed from our time together.

As I reflect on this now, I realize that Wildwood became so much more to me than a lovely park. I will always regard Wildwood as a God-created sanctuary, set apart in nature’s beauty, a holy and sacred space, a place to reconnect with a dear friend and God.

And this past weekend, Jim and I watched two documentaries – “Arctic Daughter” and “ReWilding Kernwood” – that deeply touched our souls. Jean Aspen and Tom Irons share their experiences of living in the remote Brooks Range of Alaska. They narrate their family’s story with gentle, peaceful voices; soft piano and violin music plays in the background; the photography captures the incredible beauty of the Arctic; and their wise and tender way of living is inspiring us to live more simply, to appreciate and tend the earth, and to savor and embrace life for all it holds. Jim and I were so moved, deeply touched by the beauty and the message, that we often had tears.

I notice that God is repeating this theme for me; I am to keep paying attention. My longing for the spirituality and sanctuary found in nature has been profound in recent months. Hiking feeds my soul, God feels so close when I am outdoors. These beautiful times in God’s creation are inspiring my reverence and awe, becoming my holy spaces for this time in my life.

For today, my discovery is the reminder that all of creation is holy and to be revered. When we look at the beauty of the world through our spiritual lens, when we seek the kingdom here and now, when we see all of life as sacred and regard it with gratitude, the whole earth becomes our sanctuary.

Through this discovery, what invitations is God extending? Am I being called to live more simply? To spend more time, feed my soul in nature? To be a better steward of our earth? To see God’s glory all around me? To move with the seasons and the passing years with the same grace and dignity that nature displays? These questions will be my invitation for further reflection this week.

Is this discovery resonating with your soul today? Are these questions also an invitation for you? Or will you notice something else this week? My prayers will be for your awareness and discernment.

Photo by Karen, Hurricane, WV

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