"Let's go for a walk in the woods", his eyes lit up as he said it and there was a resounding chorus of hurray's, an undercurrent of adventure.
He looked at me, half expecting a decline. Although it's rare I turn down a good romp through the woods, these days I feel like I'm always behind and need to catch up. I almost sent them all ahead without me. I had a baby to nurse, clothes to fold, dishes to wash, and a house to clean. I went anyway. The house can wait--these days of babies growing too fast will not.
Things had been weighing heavy on my mind of late. Parenting issues. Bills to pay. Dreams that keep coming knocking, that are afraid of dying. Struggles of hope and faith and not having enough of either, but desperately wanting more. The moment we climbed that first slope off the worn out road and into the woods, it all seemed lighter. Forgotten for the moment. Feet rush ahead of mine, kicking up leaves and skipping over logs. It seems another life, where time stands still and we always walk into the sun, in all it's lazy golden glory.
It's not all silence, but it's still. They squeal and laugh and beckon for each other, the sound of it softened by the trees, floating on the stirring of a breeze. And I can hear so much clearer here.
Life is simple when you're in the woods. One beautiful adventure. Shared with the ones you get to love.
And I kind of wish we could live there--in a house deep in the woods. But then I remember there will always be discontentment, even surrounded by the beauty of the earth. Because we were made for another world. This one is not meant to satisfy us, only whet our appetite for more. We were made with a God-shaped hole. People, things, nature, money, renown...none of them can satisfy our longing for more.
"Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." -C.S. Lewis
It's often I feel that tug, a pulling between worlds. One is a permanent residence. The other only temporary. One holds my citizenship, the other my cohabitation.
But they both demand my allegiance.
Am I really longing and living for heaven as though I'm only passing through? I have to wonder, and the sad answer is: so often, I'm not. I get caught up in the things of this world. The needs, the cares, the wants (too many), frustrations, and fears. I let them rob my attention, and steal my peace.
But here in the woods, it almost feels like an in-between sort of place. Walking in step behind my small tribe, my baby nestled tight against my chest, I revel in the love of a God who creates with such care for His children, who designed families as an extension of Himself, who inspires praise from the mouth of the birds.
And the quiet cathedral of the woods becomes an echo of heaven.
The embrace of my children in shafts of sunlight, a heavenly gift.
The stirring inside to love well and love big my God and His children, a heavenly ambition.
And there's an undercurrent of peace, an unfurling of joy no matter what earthly things may come, I'm choosing to let my God fill me up and give me the desire of heaven.