Monday, February 27, 2012

Truth is True

A quote from John Muir:

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.
It took me back 50 years to the scripture lesson on a Sabbath in August 1961. It was from Deuteronomy 8: 2-3:
Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (NRSV)
I can't say it's been a Watchword, but it never seems to be far away from my awareness. Recently, for example, a term coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods, "Nature Deficit Disorder" came into awareness. Originally it was about children (No Child Left Inside) but has since been expanded to all where people don't get out and get into the natural world as often as needed in Louv's book The Nature Principle.

Those words that come from the mouth of God? You can- and will- hear them out there in the wilderness, even the tame wilderness near most of our homes. That natural world is speaking loudly and clearly to those who will stop and listen.

Last winter I decided that I could not manage another whole winter without the healing and hope from the natural world.  So I bought snowshoes and used them until we went south for a few weeks where I rode my bike and did lots of walking.  This winter I had surgery and went south for four weeks. No bike riding, but plenty of walking and sitting listening to the endless sound of the surf. I won't go so far as to say that is why I have healed so well so far from the surgery, but I'm not about to deny its strength in moving me back to health.

Not by bread alone? Not on your life. As Muir noted, we need the healing that goes far beyond food; the hope that goes deeper than today's experiences. Sustenance is for body, mind, and soul.

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