By: Patrick Neitzey
We will be in the middle of a deep conversation, or a story, and suddenly she is silent. No more talking, no more footsteps. I look back only to find her crouched down looking at the smallest mushroom with the most vibrant purple hue. “I should have been a mycologist," she says, looking at me with the utmost sincerity.
Hiking with my wife, Hannah, is always entertaining.
Our entire hike will be punctuated with Hannah noticing puffballs and turkey tails. Pointing out little black trumpets and wondering aloud if what she is seeing is a chicken of the woods and about whether or not we should harvest and eat it.
In my relentless pursuit of speed and getting us to and from the peak in time to grab pizza before the inevitable bout of “hanger” sets it, I cruise past these small fungi without a second thought. Mushrooms are fleeting bits of creation. They spring up quickly after the rain and stay only as long as they need. If you see one and think “I’ll come back for it” the mushroom will probably be decayed or gone by the time you return.
Beauty is all around us in God's incredible creation. New every morning is God's love for us and all day long God makes all things work together for goodness. Are we noticing it? Are we Paying Attention to the little in-breakings of glory and majesty? Or are we trudging by looking only to be fed by something that will inevitably leave us hungry again?
When my Hannah points out every little mushroom, moth, or minute flower she isn’t trying to lower my productivity or hinder my growth, she is constantly pointing to all of the instances of glory that were being missed. If we are not paying attention to the constant in breaking of God all around us, if we are living our lives only to take and achieve, rather than living alongside in and through all of creation, then we are missing fleeting moments of grace and majesty all the time.
Lucky for us, we worship a God that is constantly showering us with grace: The Gardener, in Mark 4, who is spreading seed indiscriminately, laughing jovially as he spreads seeds with a liberal hand, giving us all an opportunity, in our own time, to pay attention to the little instances of beauty and grace.
Be still and know that the Creator of all things is making all things new. Even us.
A prayer from Wendell Berry:
O Thou who by Thy touch gives form
To all things and their polity
Whose sight is light to all, draw thanks
From us as we draw breath from Thee