What's It All About?

It's all too easy for days to pass without reflection. It's my hope that through a greater active awareness on each day, that I will be able to consider God's presence in my life and in the world around me. Writing has always been a way for me to round up my thoughts. This blog seems like a good place to park those thoughts for my own benefit as well as the benefit of others. Please take a moment to read what I have written, to offer comments, and to share the ideas with others.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Patience, The Seasons and the Passage of Time

Lake Hogan
Yesterday as I took my walk I was treated to all sorts of new sights. It had rained steadily for most of the day on Monday and so much of the ground was still covered with puddles and other patches of standing water. Little streams of rainwater had cut their way through the gravel path and flowed slowly down towards the grassy hillside. All of the normally dry colors of the leaves, trees and rocks were made more brilliant by the water and gray skies. The entire park felt transformed.

I readily admit that I tend towards anthropomorphism. I imagine the rocks and the water and the grasses and trees as being kind of human like. Silly, but I do it. To me, they seem like they are all patiently waiting for the inevitable. Everything will cycle back around eventually. Just wait for it. But how long will it take? As I walked along, I wondered if I could learn anything from inanimate objects that knew more about being patient than I can ever hope to know.

The picture above shows the little rivulet of water that now extends from the lake back towards the original path of the river. I wondered how long it would take to once again bring this man made lake to capacity. And I thought about the passage of time and waiting for things to happen. How, as humans, we really can't ever imagine what real waiting must be like. The kind of waiting that involves centuries and millenniums. The kind of waiting that rocks and trees and the earth itself does. The kind of waiting that God must do and must know about; something we can't fathom but that leads to a continuous cycle of renewal and promise. 

So, as the days now get longer, and as I wait for time to pass, I'll do the best that I can to be patient. I'll continue to go to the park and wait for the passing of seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. I'll continue to watch the cycle of life and death that must be all around me there though maybe not visible to my eyes. Through observing nature in all of its seasons, I will continue to watch the renewal that God provides for all living things. And I will try to be patient, just like the trees and rocks around me.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Snow, Light and Chanukkah

Big Trees State Park-Photo by Libby Fife
Last night was the first night of Chanukkah. As is so often the case on Jewish holidays, I look for a way to relate the historical or biblical aspects of the holiday to my current everyday life. The light of the candles reminds me of the many ways in which God's illuminating light is present in our everyday lives. My recent hike showed me that God's illuminating presence is both obvious and not so obvious. 

I am sharing the above photo that I took last week while out on a hike at Big Trees State Park up in Arnold. I live in the foothills of northern CA so a trip to the mountains (or close to them) is very doable. I normally go to the park during the spring and summer when it is warm. I am used to how the park looks at that time of year. Imagine my surprise when I arrived this time to find that the park had been blanketed in snow! Objects that were once familiar became a mystery to me. The snow obscured their familiar features so that I had to look very hard to figure out both where I was and what I was seeing. The walk was a real treat for me.

As I lit the Chanukkah candles last night I thought about the different ways in which God helps us to see. Specifically, I thought about how the snow brought the trees, rocks, and paths at the park into relief and caused me to see them in a new way. I felt like I was seeing something for the first time. Things were both hidden and revealed; familiar and unfamiliar. The light of the chanukkah candles is similar. It is both illustrative of a miracle but it also provides warmth and illumination during a cold and dark part of the year. God's light in our world is many faceted. And not always obvious but keep looking. It is there.