When I was growing up, Memorial Day weekend began our annual pilgrimage to the Lake House. My mother would pick us up on Friday (the last day of school) with the car packed to the brim. We would drive to the grocery store and buy more than enough food for our family of six. (“Lake food” was real junk food…Little Debbies, fruit roll-ups, moon-pies and more). For twenty minutes, we traveled from our town to the Lake House. That drive felt like a cleansing. For the next 3 months, we were free. Free from school, free from schedules, free from problems and responsibilities. The recitals were over. The last spelling test was history. Life was good. My wardrobe at the lake included swimsuits and a lifejacket. I remember even sleeping in my swimsuit on some nights.
More than anything, those months and years spent on the lake taught me that I am a part of nature. I am part of something bigger than myself. I spent many more hours outside than inside. Watching rain come over the lake let me know it was a good time to take a nap. Stepping on a sticker taught me to walk more carefully. Watching waves crash against my favorite rocks showed me that somethings in life never stop. They were there before I was born and they will be there afterwards. Watching the stars twinkle outside my bedroom from my bunk bed gave me deep peace. I was connected to the world around me.
So many of our problems these days come from the idea that we are not connected to anyone or anything. We feel autonomous. Even more, we feel that the purpose of the world is to serve us. This is a slippery slope to travel. Before too long our consumerism creates more waste than our Earth can handle. Our schedules are unachievable and cause more stress in ourselves and our families. Our relationship with our spiritual lives is strained simply because it is difficult to hear God speak when our life is so busy and loud. Maybe it is time to remember who we are in relationship to nature. Nature has the ability to teach us just how connected we are to creation. In fact, each one of us is a little creation made to care for the Earth around us.
Memorial Day weekend is a great time to remember. We remember those who gave their lives for us so that we may live out our days in freedom. We remember how precious life is. We remember that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. It is also a great time to stop all the hustle and bustle of our lives and decide how we want to spend our summer days. Do we want them filled with memories or schedules? Do we plan to stay in the house or get outside? Are there people we want to connect with because we have time to do it?
Imagine packing up your car for your summer pilgrimage (“Lake food” included!!). Who’s going with you and where are you going? What needs to be on your itinerary so that you have time with nature and with God? How can you make this summer less about you and more about nature? Let’s pack up the car, the backpacks, the water bottles and get outdoors. Even a walk around your neighborhood is a big step in the right direction. And if you need a little reminder about how connected we are to God’s creation and nature, take a look at this talk by Louie Giglio. It’s amazing!
There is one God, the Father,
by whom all things were created,
and for whom we live.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom all things were created,
and through whom we live. 1 Corinthians 8:6
Happy Memorial Day!