Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life Lesson from Canoeing

I spent Monday through Wednesday last week with the youth from Holy Family in Noel, MO boating on the Elk River. Monday was a one hour raft ride and Tuesday was an 8-mile, all day canoe trip. It took us probably about six to seven hours and during that time I had several thoughts.

The first was about how nature seems to be proof itself in the existence of God. It's not like we were in the middle of no where, or hours away from civiliatation. Heck, I don't think we were ever more than a quarter mile away from the nearest road. But, we were far enough away sometimes that we were afforded brief glimpses of seclusion and for the whole 8 mile course we were able to be in nature.

I wonder how anyone can look at nature and not see God's fingerprints all over it. The peacefulness and serinity. Looking into the water you see thousands of rocks, fish, turtles, and others creatures. The trees line the side of the river offering protection and habitats for other animals. Looking towards the heavens you can see the clouds and the sky and wonder what was beyond.

I think those who prefer to think that creation was made by accident simply don't want to believe in God because he is presented as an authority figure. After all, the orignal see is thinking that we don't need God. This is the only way that I can figure how someone can look at nature and see how everything co-exists and think that everything was put there randomly and not think that God had a plan.

The second observance I had was seeing nature and how some people treat nature and how it somewhat reflects on how we treat our own souls. We would be floating along, enjoying the scenery and then you would come upon a beach littered with beer cans and other trash. People have the nerve to go into a beautiful place and just trash it. I was disgusted and then I realized that we all do that with our very own souls. We are created in the image and likeness of God. We are created truly good. But, we come along and trash our souls by sinning. We take something good and tarnish it. Fortunately, we have reconciliation and are able to clean up the beaches and rivers of our soul and make it beautiful again.

Finally, I noticed how hurried I was. We were down there for three days. The main canoe trip was all we had to do on the second day. No one was expecting us. We had no plans except for that canoe trip. Yet, I kept wanting to finish it just for the sake of getting it over instead of appreciating where we were and what we were doing. Fortunately, Heather Neds, youth director extraordinar, had been there several times before and she kept a good pace. We stopped when we felt like stopping, swam, jumped off of rocks and relaxed. No hurries.

I need to do this in my every day life. Not that I'm always rushing places. I'm just always waiting for things to get done. I'm excited about my oldest daughter starting high school. I can't wait until my younger ones are old enough for high school and then to have the all graduate so we can get them out of the house!!! I look forward to Christmas only to want to get it over with so I can get to summer, only to look forward to fall. I go to baseball games and want a nice quick pitching duel so the game will end quickly (I think this comes from working Royals games for 10 years)

We need to stop and appreciate where we are. Enjoy our kids while they are kids. They will grow up soon enough. Enjoy those who we are with. Take time to enjoy our happy times. Take time to appreciate our struggles. After all, God never gives us more than we are able to handle so those times of struggles are times when He is helping make us stronger and we can probably even find something good out of those times.

A six hour float trip---lots of time for reflection. Lots of time to enjoy nature and God's creation. Heather better let me go back next year!


  1. Being close to nature always makes me feel close to God. It seems today that everything manmade is contaminated in some way, including nature--take the Gulf crisis, for example. What a horror I have that so many of God's pure and innocent creatures are at risk or dying because of man's greed. How precious an opportunity is when we can enjoy the beauty of nature without disturbing or destoying it!

  2. Wonderful thoughts and reflections about the beauty of God's creation and your experience on your six our journey.

  3. I have often wondered how people can see the beauty of nature and not believe in God. One of the most amazing things I've seen in my life was after taking off in an airplane from LAX (you always take off to the west over the ocean), we had turned back toward the East and the mountains inland were peaking through the fog. It was truly awe-inspiring.

    I hear you too on the way we treat our souls and our earth - we all need to take time to reflect and remind ourselves how blessed we are.