Today I went for a walk with the kids in the countryside surrounding the village in which we live, an area consisting of farmland, dirt paths, and small woods. The weather was great, so it was a good opportunity for the kids to get some fresh air and exercise as they ran around looking for the little creatures that are abundant in spring and summer.
It was an enjoyable break for me as well. Out on those country trails there are no computers, no pressing work, no chores, no meetings, no messes to clean up, and none of the myriad of other things that keep us busy most of the day.
Time can seem to stand still while out in nature—at least until the kids excitedly holler, “Ladybug!” or “Spider!” But even such sudden alerts are okay, because just a few minutes of peace is usually all I need to clear my head. When Jesus said that unless you become as little children you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,1 maybe He wasn’t just talking about heaven to come, but also about the peace and little bit of heaven we experience in our hearts here and now when we put our cares aside, quiet our minds and spirits, and tune in to His voice speaking to us through creation.
Children seem to do that naturally. They’re not worried about work that needs to get done, or the bills that need to be paid; they’re simply full of energy and excited about life, and happy to have a big guy along to watch out for them and take snapshots of their activities. How much more should we have peace, knowing that we have the ultimate Big Guy looking out for us and, I’m sure, taking snapshots of our lives too.
Out in the Fields with God
The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday,
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds at play;
Among the lowing of the herds,
The rustling of the trees;
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.
The foolish fears of what might happen,
I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay;
Among the husking of the corn,
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born—
Out in the fields with God!
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning