My son is half way across the country for his first semester of college. He is excited to be at Notre Dame where the trees all turn color, the blowing leaves crunch under foot and the smells of wet wood makes you know that the world is changing. Peter wrote,
“Tell you what, God’s creation is pretty fantastic. The trick is finding time to go outside and see it every once in a while.”
He is so right. Back here in New Mexico, our few nearby trees are ever-green. What blows down the road are tumbleweeds, not leaves, and the smells in the air are oftentimes the skunks! But that doesn’t mean God’s creation isn’t offering a spectacular window into heavenly beauty…for those who open their eyes to see, there is always a message.
I try to remind the kids that here in our rural area we have Big Sky views that inner city kids can’t even imagine. We can see for miles in every direction. The skies unfold with colors and cloud patterns that tell stories. When my kids were younger and they would be away from home, I would tell them, “Just look up. Your Other Mother in heaven spreads out her cloak to send a message in the sky. When the sky is clear blue it means all is well. It’s the color of the blue bird who is associated with happiness. When the sky has puff ball clouds, Mother Mary is sending a message too. Those puff balls look like crafting fun. It’s time to be creative. And when the skies are dark and heavy, they remind us of a winter jacket. We need to surround ourselves with friends and family to feel that warmth.”
No matter what comes to us in life, God’s creation and Mary’s sky messages, are sure to lift our spirits.
I remember one time when I was particularly overwhelmed…the furnace was on the fritz, the dishes were piling up in the sink, my computer just crashed, and the kids were crying. My husband was standing in the doorway and called out, “Hey everyone you gotta see what it looks like out here!”
I imagined maybe a helicopter landing in our field or a huge bonfire sending smoke clouds in the air…something big and compelling that would require our immediate response. The kids and I dropped what we were doing and ran outside. The sky was clear. The sunset had not started sending out colors. Everything looked the same as always. No fire, no helicopter, no emergency.
“And we are looking at what?” I asked, with a voice full or sarcasm and frustration. Jurgen said, “There’s always something out here to call us away from our human made problems. Let’s see what we can see if we really look.”
Sure enough, we found things worthy of observing. The sun was just starting to go down and orange streaks began to shoot across the sky. Meanwhile, looking down, the kids found big beetles with red and black stripes. (At the time, Peter had a bug collection.) The wind began to blow slightly, carrying the first whiff of someone’s cedar log wood stove.
I took a deep breath and felt the wonder of creation…especially the wonder of family! Here we were outside for no particular reason except to slow down and appreciate the gift of life. And it was truly wonderful!!!
Thank you Peter, for bringing back these memories.
And thank You, my Lord, for your daily messages of Presence. Forgive us for not noticing. For taking You for granted. For not breathing in Your Peace. I’ll be trying to open my eyes now.
Copyright 2014 Judith Costello (with Peter Brown)