Stuck Inside

I want to wander barefoot through fields of tall grass under the sunshine, close my eyes, smiling into the wind, and feel God.

I want to sit near a brook, dip my toes in the cool, slowly meandering flow, feel minnows nipping, and feel God.

I want to walk a dusty path through a dappled forest, noting the differences in temperature between sunlight and shade, smelling the fragrance of the green, living foliage, and feel God.

I'm tired of being indoors. We have sectioned ourselves off from the world.

I sit here at a desk in front of a brightly lit computer screen, longing for something so much more than what technology (as much as I love - or rather, am addicted - to it) can offer, beyond what modern transportation, and houses and buildings and even church facilities hold.

Why have we closed ourselves off? God created this beautiful, amazing sanctuary for us to live in, to worship in, to work in. It's called Outside, Nature, The Great Outdoors...whatever you want to call it. His handiwork is everywhere - completely obvious, right there in the open. And we've shut ourselves off to it.

If it starts to rain, we run inside, fearing getting too wet. What if we just stood there, letting the drops fall, feeling the prickle of the rain on our skin, the coolness, letting ourselves be saturation, feeling our heart beat with the rolls of thunder? What then? Perhaps we would find that Nature isn't so big and mean and scary after all. Perhaps we would find that God is standing there with us, waiting to see the smiles of enjoyment on our faces. Maybe He wants to see us splash around in the puddles like children, not fearing the rain, but taking sheer pleasure in it.

I realized recently that, somewhere along the line since I moved away from Pennsylvania - where I lived in a small town surrounded by farmland - I began to fear bugs. I used to be able to walk through a swarm of gnats and not flinch, or have a fly land on my arm and not immediately shake it off. I used to sit and watch ants marching to and fro, carrying amazing loads on their backs to their homes. I used to be fascinated by the most minuscule details of nature.

What has happened?

I became an adult.

I've lost my childlike faith, that innocence that believes that I can just reach up and God's hand will be there, that He will walk beside me as I skip along, happy to just be in His presence.

I can't feel that when I am inside. Inside structures created by men, I feel as though I am drowning.

It's difficult to hear - the sound of God's voice gets drowned out by all the distractions with which we surround ourselves.

It's difficult to see - our views of nature are blocked and obstructed by the walls we've built to protect ourselves from it.

It's difficult to feel - we live in climate controlled houses, where we can dictate what temperature it is. We miss feeling the warmth of the sun on our skin, the chill of a crisp autumn breeze, or the frigid bite of a snow-filled wind.

And most importantly, it's difficult to live - we are stuck inside these white-walled prison cells, cut off from the beautiful, vivid life of nature. We don't breathe real air but manufactured, processed, chemicalized air. We don't see by natural light, but by the magic of electricity.

If we have so separated ourselves from Nature - the very evidence of God's existence ("For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:20), how then can we expect to know Him, to fully feel His presence?

I need to get outside.