Years ago when my husband and I moved out of a large city and bought a house on a wooded 10 acre piece of property, my parents would escape from city life, several times a year, to spend weekends with us. And once a year my mother would come by herself and stay for a week. She called it her R&R.
We did a lot of hiking through those acres of woods and far beyond.
My mother saw beauty in everything. Especially nature. Everywhere we walked she seemed to be soaking it all in. Those visits, the walks, the talks, inspired a deeper appreciation for nature in me. Without her keen eye, I don’t think I would have picked up the extraordinary beauty in those ordinary places.
It was like she was inhaling the glory of God. Everything held wonder for her.
As far back as I can remember, sunsets, the mountains, the valleys, every plant, flower and bird were a means to give acknowledgement to God. When my sister, Judy, lived in Arizona my mother would return from trips to her house describing the majesty of God revealed in every mountain top. There was a bursting forth from somewhere deep within her soul, like a release, at the beauty of it all.
When I was a child, even through my teenage years, I dismissed her sense of wonder and awe as a ‘mom thing’ and didn’t enter into it fully with her. In my adulthood, I began to understand.
She could appreciate the created fully, because she grasped the deep love of the creator.
This past summer, while walking through an art gallery my husband and I spotted a piece of art that we were both drawn to. We studied the painting, the colors, the depth, we envisioned it in our living room but left the gallery without it.
On another visit to the same gallery, the artist who painted the piece was there. We talked to her and we began to see more deeply into it as she described the process, what inspired her to paint it, the methods she used and what she named it.
She remarked that her paintings aren’t complete until they are enjoyed, looked at with wonder, awe and eventually find a home.
That particular painting found a home. Our home. After spending time getting to know the artist, the appreciation for her painting grew deeper for us.
As my faith in God deepens, the more I get to know His love for all that he has created–especially His love for us–the more my eyes are opened to the beauty surrounding me. I see creation through different eyes and I’m more able to savor the moments.
God gives us moments of wonder. He has painted a world that many artists have tried to replicate but none can compare to the real deal that surrounds us everyday.
The long walks through the countryside with my mother–her naming the plants, pointing out the wild basil–picking it–rubbing it between her fingers to release its aroma–saying to me, “Here smell this, Nancy.” Ah…she soaked in the moments and the wonder of everything.
God could have created the world in black and white but He chose to wash it with color. Even in the depth of winter–when everything can look black, white and dull–He creates splashes of color for us to find. I found it one morning on a branch in my yard.
This year I want to say AMEN to wonder. I want to recall the moments from the past that have inspired me and look for new ways to see the world and rejoice in the wonder.
Written by: Nancy Janiga©2015
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