At our June forest church gathering Wendy framed the worship time by noting there were two related ideas that coalesced on this day. The first idea she noted was the fact we are now fully into the season of spring with its corresponding concepts of new birth, beginnings, and growth. The related idea was this gathering corresponded with Fathers’ Day, which brings to mind family. The connections she made between these concepts led her to invite us to enter a half-hour period of contemplation with a spirit of childlikeness.
With those instructions in mind, I began my walk by intentionally slowing my already leisurely pace to be able to observe the small details that often go unnoticed. Then, as I had witnessed other children do, I rolled a log over to search for newts or observe what other creepy-crawlers may live beneath it. I also tried to channel the excitement and joy of, what I recalled of, childhood.
As I walked with the posture of childhood innocence, inquisitiveness, and uninhibitedness, the revelation that came to me, had nothing to do with engagement, exploration, or excitement. Rather, the gift that came to me was of a child’s ability to navigate the world with an unrushed, agenda-less stance with no need to accomplish any set of prescribed goals. In a period of my life, in which there has been a seemingly never-ending supply of prescribed goals, often with deadlines attached, and continual responsibilities, it was a blessing to be able to simply be present in the moment, to accept it for what it was, and revel in the simple pleasure of it.
My three-fold hope for this summer is first of all, that there will many opportunities to slow down, so that I can observe the unnoticed small details of God’s wonderful creation. Secondly, that I will be able to act more childlike in terms of my sense of adventure and joyfulness. And lastly, that I can learn to be present in the moment without the need to accomplish anything at all.
- Chip Bender
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Reflections, poetry, prayers, photos, and resources written by Wendy Janzen unless otherwise noted.