“The heavens declare the glory of the Lord; the skies proclaim the work of His hands!”
I love being alone with nature. And when I say “nature,” I mean that in the loosest of terms. With two young kids at home, getting out in nature for me nowadays means walking to the mailbox at the end of our street or to the horse stables around the corner from our neighborhood and admiring the things I notice along the way: the leaves on the ground, the mountains in the distance, the birds flying overhead.
Whenever I’m in a cruddy mood, simply can’t find the motivation to accomplish the tasks of the day, or don’t feel like praying, I take a walk. Being outside in the fresh air has a way of invigorating the spirit and redirecting the mind like nothing else can, not even shopping, for those of us who enjoy a little retail therapy on gloomy days.
Nature is so therapeutic because it is God’s ultimate love letter to us. Even more so, it is a love letter back to Him as well. Each day, the Lord paints entirely new, breathtaking masterpieces for us to take in, whether we notice them or not. If you ever forget that, just take a three-year-old in the backyard for ten minutes and watch as he brings you back the most delightful rock he’s ever seen. If you take a moment to look at it, you’ll notice that rocks really can be delightful!
My favorite part of this love affair between God and nature, though, is nature’s response that is reciprocated back to the Father. The flowers bloom, the squirrels scurry, the clouds dance all as a “yes!” to His plan for creation. Grass was made to grow, and so it does. Birds were made to sing and ants to crawl, and they do both well. Every time the rains fall, the sun shines, the wind blows, it’s creation’s love letter back to the Lord, saying “you made us to be, Father, and so we are.”
No wonder being outside, even for a short while, is healing. We are immersed in a love letter to each one of us from our Father.
The love of the Lord for me through creation extends even further, though. Ironically enough, He meets me frequently through my golden retriever, Freddie.
Freddie is my companion when I’m lonely, my comforter when I’m sad, and my heater when I’m cold. He is always up for an adventure or a nap, he doesn’t judge when I’ve done wrong, and is the best listener there is. He is gentle, warm, and patient. In four short years, he’s become an integral part of our family, mountains of fur and all.
I sometimes wonder, if dogs could talk what would Freddie say about what I do when I think no one is watching? He could tell you what shows I watch, what food I eat, what music I listen to…how often I shower, or don’t. He could speak of the tears I’ve cried while my husband was deployed or of the nights I’ve tossed in my sheets wondering about the future. He could describe how I speak to my children after long days or where I shove my junk when company is stopping by or even what I say to my girlfriends like no one is listening, but Freddie is. Thank goodness dogs can’t talk!
No matter what is happening in our family, Freddie’s loving eyes are always watching tenderly, as if to say “I’m here. I understand.” A gentle reminder from creation that someone is always watching, we are not alone, and He does understand.