In times of stress, political divisiveness, or even terrorist attacks, we might need to step aside from all the drama and spend a few quiet minutes alone to re-group. It’s okay. Even if you feel called to protest, advocate for change, or spend the rest of your life fighting for a better world, you still need to take care of your own spiritual needs.
Everybody needs a safe space, where you can blot out the noise of the rest of the world and just breathe. I learned this shortly after 9/11. Sitting outside on my farm, I realized I had a place of complete safety and peace right in front of me. I stepped out into the meadow of my farm, barefoot among the grass and wild violets, and found that sense of peace and quiet I needed so much.
Time in nature is a gift from God we have only to step outside to receive. To find quiet time in the beauty of the wilderness, we can simply step into the backyard, take a walk through a park, or – like Jesus – enter a garden of growth and beauty to wrestle with our fears, our misgivings, our struggles, and our pleas for peace.
We can do this for only a few minutes between our daily chores and responsibilities. We can do this for a more prolonged period of focused spiritual development by taking a pilgrimage through the Great Smoky Mountains or on the road to a cathedral in Spain. We can do this by simply going to the lake for the weekend to get away from it all and find some peace among the fish, the chirping birds, and the pine trees.
We can stop and take a few minutes to consider the ravens, flying overhead on currents of air unseen by us. We can consider the lilies planted by loving hands in a quiet garden, a testament to the reality of beauty born from the seemingly dead earth and a dry bulb left to the mercy of water, air pockets, and the nurture of the earth to sprout and flourish. We can remember the teachings of Jesus, acknowledging that we really don’t need much more than we are given by God through the natural resources of the universe. We can find our peace. We can find harmony by joyfully immersing ourselves in the wonders of the natural world, growing into the creation which God made.
It’s been a hard week here in the United States. Perhaps it’s been a hard week for you personally as well. Give yourself a break. Step outside, without your phone, and take advantage of the peace on offer for all of us.
Cynthia Coe is the author of Considering Birds & Lilies: Finding Peace & Harmony With The Everyday World Around Us, available on Kindle and in paperback. Portions of this essay are excerpted from this book.