God's Country

My brother and beautiful Sister-in-Law took a dream trip to Alaska recently.  They planned and saved, prepared and did research on the best way to experience their once-in-a-lifetime vacation.  I'm sure it was absolutely breathtaking and memorable.  Personally, Alaska is not my dream territory, yet I can certainly imagine how wonderful it would be to realize such a hoped for destination. 

Upon one of my visits with Mother, I saw one of their postcards sent to our parents and you could feel the residual joy coming off of the handwriting as she was describing how beautiful and majestic it all was and that it was "truly God's Country".  Quite lovely, I thought.  Then, another day came and along with it, another postcard, once again stating how much it was "God's Country".  Now, that got me to thinking:  is my home any less God's than Alaska??

I have had the pleasure and opportunity to travel quite a bit and was bitten by the pilgrimage bug in my youth.  I have a deep love for history, travel and beauty.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending upon who you are talking to) we have 5 children who put the kibosh on any major traveling destinations when paired with our income.  So places such as Alaska are so far out of our reach - even if it was on one of our lists - they shall remain a dream. 

So the line "God's Country" bothered me since, in my belief, God is everywhere, has touched every thing, and is present in the ongoing transformation that is creation itself.  I don't believe that God specifically reserved any one place as more holy, beautiful, or transcendent than any other spot on this Earth.  I'm sure the line wasn't meant to imply as such, but I think I do understand why it was an easy line to write:  They saw the handprint of God readily in their surroundings.  And here is the crux of the stone in my shoe:  They noticed God in an unfamiliar setting whereas God made everything - therefore, does it hold true that they, we, me, you, are missing His fingerprints in our daily lives?

I have been getting into the habit of walking with my son William in the mornings....by that I mean Will stands at my doorway and says "Mom.  Mom.  .....are you getting up?  Mom.  It's time.  Mom" relentlessly until I drag my butt out of bed to walk with him.  He thinks it's funny to see me so grumpy and mad in the AM. 
Since we've began the early morning walks,  I have seen something miraculous, new, and beautiful each day.  Without fail.  Today, we took a new route and as we came out onto a clearing, looked over to the right.  We were both awed at the sight:  A gently rolling corn field, tall and vibrantly green with a darkly verdant forest banking the field.  Directly behind that, the terrain dipped dramatically, then rose with roll of fog covered forest.  All of this was set with a backdrop of deep blue sky and cotton clouds and the musical signature of  varieties of birds.  A working dairy farm to the front of us and the crunch of gravel under our feet.  Wow.  It was incredible.  And right there in my backyard. 

I only became aware of the challenge to find God in my surroundings from an innocent line.  It could be chalked up to a Pavlovian response to my brothers extravagant travels, my reaction, and I'm sure there's elements of truth in that; yet, if it began there, I found much Truth and Light in the resulting introspection.  I challenge you to seek God's country on your street, in your portion that you are gifted.  It's miraculous and a joyous way to seek the Lord. 

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