Oct 24 2012

The Importance of Today

For those willing to learn, nature has much to teach them.  One such lesson is that change is inevitable and is always taking place.  It can be hard to see at times but if you look closely, changes are taking place every single day, every single moment, in the natural world.  At other times, it’s not hard to see at all.

Last week while photographing at Custer State Park in South Dakota I saw the beautiful aspen grove shown above.  I remember thinking how blessed I was to be here to see this particular grove at this particular time.  I knew that had I come a week earlier it would not have been filled with so much yellow.  I also knew that if I had come a week later the leaves would likely have been gone.

A couple of days after taking the picture above I passed by this particular grove once again.  The scene had changed drastically.  A wind storm swept through during the night and had blown almost all of the leaves off the trees.  It was hard to believe how so quickly all the leaves were shed.  It made me grateful that I had taken the time earlier to stop and photograph the grove.  Had I not, I would have missed something special.

All of my life I have heard the saying, “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”  This wise saying, attributed to Thomas Jefferson, is one we should all pay heed too.  Why?  Because we have no guarantee of tomorrow.  This is something the Bible makes clear in numerous places.  Proverbs 27:1 says “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”  In the Book of James we read: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’  Why, you don’t even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (4:13-14)

We can all learn from both nature and the Scriptures that change is inevitable and that life is uncertain.  Recognizing this we ought to live our lives more deliberately and with a greater sense of urgency.  We should make the most of every day.  We should also realize that we may not have a chance to do tomorrow what we can do today.

Is there someone you need to say “I love you” or “I’m sorry” to?  If so, it would be wise not to wait until tomorrow to do so.  Is there someone you’ve been meaning to say “thank you” to?  Once again, it would be wise not to wait until tomorrow to do so.  The barren aspen trees I saw in South Dakota, along with the wisdom the Bible offers, helps me understand the importance of today.


Oct 4 2009

An Unquenchable Curiosity

Monticello flowers 52This past Thursday evening I attended the U2 concert in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Earlier in the day I decided I’d go up to Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson.  When the tour I was on got to Jefferson’s library the guide noted that Mr. Jefferson had many interests—architecture, science, natural history, etc.  She then shared a line from one of his writings, “…there is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me…”  I wanted to make sure I heard her right so I asked her to repeat the quote.  Apparently this great patriot had an unquenchable curiosity.

I have always admired Thomas Jefferson.  I remember reading where John F. Kennedy once hosted a dinner for a group on Nobel laureates at the White House.  He indicated to those present that there had never been a greater gathering of intelligence than when Thomas Jefferson dined there alone.  Jefferson truly did have an incredible mind. 

Most of us will never have a mind like Jefferson but we can follow in his steps if we will learn to be more curious.  In this sense he was almost childlike.  Children marvel at everything around them and ask countless questions.  They are eager to learn.  Unfortunately, as time goes on they tend to lose their curiosity and inquisitiveness.  Many grow old before their time.

Jesus once said that “unless you become like children you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”  One of the things he may have had in mind here is the child’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder.  I think he found these traits commendable.  I also think that he would like to see us hold onto them.  God has provided us with a remarkable world to live in.  There is so much to see, hear, touch, taste, smell  and experience.  We’ll miss out on a lot of it if we cease being curious. 

Maybe now would be a good time to go outside and take another look at the sprigs of grass shooting up, or the autumn leaves that are falling, or the stars that are passing overhead, or the dew droplets on a spider web.  There are marvels without number waiting for those with an unquenchable curiosity and behind them a Creator who loves us all.

Monticello 676–Chuck

(I took the pictures above while at Monticello this past Thursday. Jefferson not only designed Monticello but oversaw the planting of flowers and trees. I do not know the name of the species of flower shown but am confident Jefferson would have.)