Jun 8 2011

Macro Therapy

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”  –Jesus (John 14:27)

In his book, Our National Parks, John Muir beckoned, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”  Muir knew as well as anyone the healing qualities of God’s Creation.  He sometimes described himself as a John the Baptist calling people to the wilderness.  He recognized that there are physical, spiritual and emotional benefits that come with immersing oneself in nature.

Unfortunately, sometimes we find ourselves in a position where we cannot “climb the mountains.”  Perhaps we are not geographically close to some wilderness area, or it may be that time simply does not permit us to get away.  Does that mean we cannot receive the life-giving benefits of nature?  Not at all!  Yesterday I was reminded that one does not have to go anywhere to experience the healing power God has bestowed upon nature.  I had a very busy and stressful day.  I was privileged to speak at the funeral of a wonderful member of the church I serve.  It was a beautiful service but I still found myself feeling drained and empty when I got home.  Before leaving the church, however, members of the deceased’s family asked me to take home one of the vases of flowers that were still there.  My wife thought that was a good idea so I brought a nice arrangement home with me.

When I got the flowers home I decided I’d take a few pictures of the flowers.  They were too pretty not to.  I put a macro lens on my camera and took the flowers outside.  As I moved in close and starting focusing on the delightful colors and patterns I could feel a burden being lifted from my shoulders.  Where there had been sadness I started to feel great joy.  I could definitely relate to John Muir’s words.  Nature’s peace did flow into me and refresh me.  It seemed as though my cares truly did “drop off like autumn leaves.”

Later in the evening I had a chance to work on the pictures I had taken of the flowers.   Even looking at the images on the computer screen proved therapeutic.  I ended up putting several of the images on Facebook and called the folder I placed them in “Macro Therapy.”  I enjoyed the whole experience so much I borrowed a floral arrangement from my secretary’s desk this afternoon and came home and took some more pictures.  Once again, it proved to be a most satisfying and soothing enterprise.

I share all of this with you in the hope that the next time you are feeling stressed or discouraged that you will remember that God has placed in His Creation healing powers that can truly help.  If you can head to the mountains, the ocean or desert, by all means do so.  But if you can’t, just glance around you.  Look closely at a flower, a leaf, an insect, a shell or even a rock—anything you can find nearby.   You may shortly discover your cares dropping off like autumn leaves.  If you do, know that this is by design—our heavenly Father’s design.

–Chuck

(The images above were taken today and yesterday.  Many thanks to the family of Mary Ruth Prater for the gift of the flowers!)