I'm visiting Michigan for a month. It's beautiful here. This is where my husband grew up, swimming and splashing in the same lake where his own children now swim and splash every summer. Our kids are the 5th generation to call this "home," even though it's only a few weeks out of the year for us.
I love that sort of tradition and rootedness to a place.
While being here is glorious, getting ready to be here was not. Laundry, cleaning, squeezing everything that 4 people need for a month into 2 suitcases, Cupcake unpacking what was already packed, the mile-long to-do lists before we left. I was Momzilla incarnate during those final days before takeoff.
Driving around town on one of those chaotic days before leaving, just me and my ever-present entourage of three, Brownie said something which gave me pause:
Mommy, I see God in everything.
I nearly spit out the thrice-reheated Starbucks as my eyes filled with tears and my heart swelled with conviction.
I fail to see God in everything. I want to. I need to. I'm learning to. Slowly. But typically my grown-up self is too preoccupied with the business of busy-ness, the service of domesticity, and the selfishness of my own agenda.
The conversation did not remain lofty for long. I'm always amused by children's ability to go from the profound to the absurd in one fell swoop:
Mommy, is God in my ice cube? If He is, then am I eating Him?
Does God have a pinky? I think he does have a pinky.
Nonetheless, I long for the eyes and heart and faith of a child. I think I outgrew it about 28 years ago. And now, at 36, I am desperately trying to squeeze back into my kid suit.
Being here, surrounded by the unmistakable beauty of creation, makes it easier.
Later she rescued this baby dragonfly from certain death-by-arachnid, carefully untangling it from a web on the dock and tearfully exclaiming:
Much to her horror, one of its wings was broken.
Though unsuccessful in mending its broken wing, she was successful in creating the most beautiful deathbed a baby dragonfly has ever known. I assured her that no dragonfly has enjoyed such comfort and beauty during its final hours.
She placed the box on her nightstand, fretting over her winged patient until she finally fell asleep. When we awoke this morning, it had passed. Blondie cried and gave it a proper burial in the front yard.
Her tender affection for living things inspires and humbles me. This is her Father's world.
I love the quote that inspires my photographer friend, Sarah:
Earth's crammed with Heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
It's easy to see Earth crammed with Heaven in the splendor of this place. To take off my shoes in reverent wonder.
Beneath a canopy of towering firs and decades-old maples, we have gazed upon deer and sand hill cranes, geese and orioles, groundhogs and snapping turtles, fish and clams.
And all of this has nourished my dry and desperate grown-up soul, reviving my childlike gift of seeing God in everything.
The real test will be grasping it in the everyday life I'll return to in July.
At least I'll have helpers.
While these children of mine have much to be taught, I sometimes wonder if their teacher has just as much to learn from them.
*This post is part of "Tuesdays Unwrapped" at Chatting at the Sky.