By Betty Slade
A thin line lies between a consumer and a lover of life. A consumer is one who exchanges a service for something of value. A lover is one whose heart seizes the moment, expecting only enjoyment in return.
I confess, I am a consumer and have missed the enjoyment of many moments. I exchange time for creating, writing or studying and teaching. I want to explain the moment and make it tangible.
When my youngest daughter and her dad go fishing, they go for the day, take snacks and dig for worms. They see it as doing something, I see it as doing nothing. To catch a fish would be a bonus. As for them, the fish is not necessary. They just enjoy being together.
I am a participator who is aware of time. Dillydallying is too costly. In retrospect, maybe I should have learned to enjoy more needless fishing moments, where building a relationship carried equal weight to doing something productive.
Sunday afternoon, I said to my Sweet Al, “Let’s go for a ride.”
“Where are we going?”
I picked up my purse and drove my Sweet Al to the Upper Blanco Basin. I drove the dusty road to Opal Lake. The aspen trees were bathed in yellow and ocher. You could hear the trees sing as the leave rustled in the wind.
The afternoon was more than words could describe as the drive became more than just a ride. What was meant to be an outing to see the colors became a moment with God.
On that afternoon, painting and writing didn’t enter my mind. I wanted to breathe in what my eyes were seeing. The vibrant colors were like fireworks and I felt God’s glory rest on my heart. I had to stop the car to take in the beauty that surrounded us.
I said to my Sweet Al, “This takes my breath away. Do you see how the aspen leaves are shivering in the quiet breeze?”
My heart was quivering at that same moment. God was romancing me. He was showing his love by showing me his beauty.
Al said, “I see this kind of beautiful when I go hunting. I sit on a hillside overlooking a valley and wait for an elk to stroll by. In the wait, I am struck by my love for nature. It is OK if I don’t see an elk because my heart is full from the moment.”
Beauty is actually God’s love for us. Even in the abstract, we see his love through aspen trees, a day lake side or a moment on the side of a mountain. These things are the tangible that explains his love for us.
Everyone’s heart yearns for something more than what it knows. How is the heart satisfied? Sometimes we need to see the light that passes through it. His light bypasses both time and logic.
Perhaps this is what Paul meant when he wrote in Ephesians, “To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
When we hear a word, read a phrase or enjoy nature, we are captured by an experience we can’t possibly know. Like a poem written on our hearts, we quiver like leaves in a quiet breeze. We have been romanced and awakened to a beauty we wouldn’t have seen had we not appreciated an undistracted moment.
Final brushstroke: Beauty is God speaking, wooing us through life. He shines his light on our heart, which creates an image of beauty. It is when his light slips through that we experience what we could never grasp on our own: his heart who created us.
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