The Wonder-er

The sky is as white as these snow-covered fields today and the sallow tiredness of old snow bleeds the color from each moment. My every breath is a question. I cannot shake this restlessness.

I have been so hungry for God these past weeks—devouring book after book, trying on the thoughts of others and shaking off old habits. But the more I read about Him, the more He becomes a deep pool that I gaze into. I cannot fathom the bottom. If I dip my foot into the water, it disappears into a swirl of greens and browns…and what might come up out of those depths is a mystery.

The vastness of it all makes me dizzy and I want to slip my whole self under the surface—sink into this unknown beauty.

It reminds me of childhood, this feeling.

When we were kids, adventure was just a thought away. Each day opened up possibility, unfolding as a series of actions: What do you want to do now? Let’s play outside. There was always the next thing. We spent most of the day at the Black Spot. Thus named because it was what was left of a patch of strip mine. Whatever treasure was lifted out of the earth there left a stark, flat surface covered with black sand and pieces of slate. It was our favorite place to ride bikes because of the ease of pedaling on the flatness of it. There we would set up jumps with cinderblocks and old pieces of found wood and there we learned how to fly. When our legs grew weary of pedaling, we would park our bikes and tap patterns of holes into the slate flats with old rusty nails. The slate also made excellent blackboards and we would scratch words onto the grey surface with pointed stones.

Other days we would pick the milkweed pods that encroached upon the Black Spot and make intricate mud pies with feathery icing. The creek at the bottom of the hill provided the liquid to turn the black soil into batter. We would poke sticks down into the cakey mess and sprinkle delicate seeds on top. In the summer, raspberry bushes pushed up against the barren black and, rather than waste them on our inedible concoctions, we put those round bits of reddish flesh to better use.

My brother’s trailer now sits where the Black Spot was. Green grass pokes out from under the snow this time of year. Sometimes it feels like that sense of adventure in me—that wonder about the world—is buried also. Little bits of it poke out of me from time to time and I startle in recognition. I wonder if I imagined all those adventures…if they simply ceased to be because my grown-up mind has lost the ability to play this way.

Let’s play outside.

What I didn’t realize then is that those adventures were a way of tasting God. Looking back, I see His companionship in the cool, smooth surface of a piece of slate. He flew through the air underneath me when I was airborne off the bike ramp. He is the feathery softness of the milkweed.

My play looks different these days. I might take in a concert with my family, or steal a weekend away with my husband. I love to run, to paint, to create, to laugh with friends and family. But it is when I am out-of-doors that I feel Him return to me. These are the moments that color drips back into life and my breath is deep and sure.

When I bend to look through flowing water—watch light play on sinuous arcs rippling over hidden life—I feel the liquefied parts of me pulled deep into the earth, to the beginning of time when Spirit hovered over sea.

When I stir earth—dig into her musty skin—her kin in me is stirred. I feel my dusty roots.

And when I lay back on grass-bed and stare into an ocean of sky…I see the endless beauty of creation—of me, and what I was created to be.

When I play outside, I commune with God. And while book-reading is good, and it is whetting my appetite for Him, I am reminded of these words from a wise teacher:

Of making many books there is no end and much study wearies the body… (Ecc. 12:12)

Trouble is, I don’t play outside often these days. There are other ways, of course, that I commune with God. But none quite so fun. Last year, I read this book, and it reminded me how much fun God can be. I worked my way through the book here, posting once a week on what stirred inside.

Funny how I forget these things.

Today I stumbled across this post, and I remembered again. The thing is, I don’t want to forget this time. So, I’m making a commitment to play outside—even just a little—every day. I’ll try to tell you about it from time-to-time. And if you try it, I’d be honored if you tell me about your play dates with God.

Time to rediscover the wonder. See you down by the creek.

Comments

  1. says

    So true for me too. I need to learn to play more easily, to put down the work which I tell myself is so important, and let go! How do you learn to do that? Baby steps, I would think…

  2. says

    I know too well the restlessness of which you speak…

    My heart hungers, aches, strains to expand to hold more of Him then dizzy I come up for air only to find that the world doesn’t give me the breath He does…

    Play on, dear sister…

  3. says

    The longer I know Him, the less I realize that I know. The hunger is good. In this study I just started they said that “seek first, the kingdom” scripture really means….in Greek, seek=crave. Doesn’t that sound wondrous….to crave Him. To be filled by Him…all else falling into place yet not the end our spirit needs.

  4. says

    Beautiful post, Laura! My play dates with God have been too few and far between. I needed this message. Thank you!
    Love you,
    Cheri
    ps. Praying for patience is a courageous thing to do. Experience with me, to my shame, has turned me into a cowardly lion, I am afraid. 🙁 Keep up the bold praying!!!

  5. says

    First of all I want to echo what Christine said – you are a master craftsman Laura.
    I can remember those days – playing outdoors from morning until “five minutes more please Mom” in the evening. We even ate lunch outside on the little picnic table.
    There are times I feel the outdoors calling, but my grown-up self has too many things to do indoors. I think you may be on to something Laura.

  6. says

    Let’s play ouside, tasting God,see you down at the creek- you have such a delicous way with words!
    I am coming to realize that God is doing a wonderful work in us- drawing us deeper and deeper into Himself- I see us ducking and diving like porpoises in the river of life~!Happily, playfully, joyfully…..
    like you, reading is very much a part of what drew me to the deeper waters- I loved how you expressed this:

    But the more I read about Him, the more He becomes a deep pool that I gaze into.

    Keep writing- your imagery does wonders for my spirit- I find myself chuckling with joy.

  7. says

    ‘Unless you become like little children…..’ – sounds as though you have discoved a great wisdom Laura. I love your advice, and I am going to try to ‘play’ a bit outside each day as well. Books are wonderful – they teach about God, but God’s creations reveal who God is. Thanks for a great post.
    Andie

  8. says

    I’ve just received LL’s book via Amazon. I hope to “play” this Spring and unearth some of the forgotten, hidden treasures of God.

    Do you know what one line really resonated with me in this post? “Trying on the thoughts of others…”

    I, too, have been devouring God from every angle; I’ve found myself in the words of others, all tangled up, feeling the depth and witness of said words, wishing they were mine. I suppose they are… mine… when they become that important to me.

    And then, sometimes, I back away from them and just marinate my heart with the treasures of scripture. Really, the many words about the Word are more than enough to force my “play”; my laughter and wonderment as well.

    We’ll never get to the bottom of Him; still and yet, I love the dig.

    Love you too.

    peace~elaine

  9. says

    I only have to look at a puppy to know that God LOVES to play! Too big paws, cuddle down coat, loopy run, sloppy kisses 🙂

    I wish I played like a puppy, always looking for adventure. This weekend I did, took my 3 crazy loud kids out to play Tag, Hide and Seek and Star Wars.

    It was windy and rainy by turns. The Lord was there, His laughter on the wind.

    I came back fresh, better. Thanks for reminding us to play Laura!

  10. says

    I “hear” you, and love that you’re giving yourself permission to play. I’ll throw out one more book title that you might enjoy when you’re taking a break from outdoors: “Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God” by Gary Thomas.

  11. says

    Last night I was up with a little boy in pain because of coughing. 🙁
    As I rubbed his back and prayed for him all I could think about was getting him outside into the light and glory. Then I read this post today. Pretty sure this is a message for me too! HE must have great plans for us out there 🙂
    ~Jessica

  12. says

    Love that you wrote on this (and so beautifully, too), especially as I just posted about marveling on my blog.

    And there is something to be said about playing outside, touching dirt, experiencing (not just seeing) creation. There’s even physical, health benefits to digging in soil, soaking up sun, breathing fresh air, not to mention the emotional and spiritual.

    Can’t wait for Spring!

  13. says

    Just reading your words feels like a play date, Laura. You transported me there with you. And you inspire me to want to find those spaces where the adventure is poking out and tug at them harder. Thank you!

  14. says

    Oh, this was wonderful. Wonderful in truth. Wonderfully written.

    Just loved it.

    My recent blog posts was also about how faith can get so complicated. And a child taught me what Salvation really is.

    Wow Maureen. I would buy a book titled that. 🙂

  15. says

    Loved what you wrote about adventure and reading about your childhood adventures…”the mud pies with feathery icing” reminded me of those days when my girl and I would make them using old metal pie tins… funny, I just posted about an outdoor adventure I had…THANKS, Laura, for gifting us, Laura 🙂

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