LISTENING AS AN ACT OF MERCY AND LOVE
Friday, March 19, 2021
Listening Through Creation
by Robbin Brent
Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. … Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.—Rachel Carson
I discovered the opening quote in one of my favorite books honoring creation, Earth’s Echo, by Robert Hamma. In this book he explores ways to listen for God in the world around us, how to be present, and how to notice. During this time of great uncertainty, turbulence, loss, and change, I take refuge in two places where I am able to remember God’s mercy and love: by the ocean and in the mountain woods. Oceanside, the rhythm of the tide, the moon’s phases, and the rise and fall of the sun, are a steady source of comfort, inspiration, a place where I experience a deepening of trust in God’s bounty. All I have to do is to show up and pay attention.
In the mountains, it is a walk to an ancient pine tree deep in the woods near my home. Every step I take toward the tree, I am aware of the fidelity of nature to be exactly what it was created to be. It rekindles my desire to listen more deeply for all the ways God lets me know who I am created to be in this world.
A contemplative practice I often engage with in these two places is walking meditation. As I walk, I follow my breathing and sense my feet making contact with the ground. I try to notice when each foot leaves the ground, and the moment they return to the ground. When I get distracted, I just come back to my breath and to my feet. I end with a prayer of thanksgiv-ing for the gift of fully sensing my body in the present moment in God’s glorious creation.
Making It Personal: Do you have a favorite place in nature where you are more free to notice all the ways God expresses love for you, and for all of creation? If you aren’t able to travel to that place, do you have memen-tos you could place in your prayer space? It could be freshly fallen leaves, sea shells, acorns, rocks, fruit/veggie, flowers, etc.