Every so often I realize that I’ve been going full speed ahead for too long and need a break, this past week I had one of those realizations. I finally got to the point where I felt like I had been running with my eyes closed, not paying attention to those around me for some time. Emily and I decided to go up to Sequoia National Park for the weekend; we needed to get a little space, some quiet, and some beauty that comes from being surrounded by God’s creation.
The time was wonderful for both of us. It gave us enough time together to get caught up with each other, it also gave us enough time to take inventory of our lives. We both spend some time in prayer together using the Book of Common Prayer as a guide in the mornings. I also had time to journal a little and think through the course of my life over the past few months. This time of reflection and prayer was useful in helping me focus on the parts of my life I’ve ignored lately.
A few questions arose as I was reflecting that worked as a guide in thinking through and journaling about my recent experiences.
Questions to Aid in Spiritual Inventory
What have I rushed by so quickly that I have missed altogether?
Who have I harmed, ignored or worse used for my own gain in this time of negligence?
Where have I been dishonest with others, God or myself?
In what ways can find I wisdom to not fall into these ways again?
What things must I turn my attention to in prayer?
A Boy and a Fish
Later on, while Emily and I were sitting down for Saturday’s dinner at the campsite, a boy named Hollis and his younger brother came up to us. Hollis, about eight years old said, “We went fishing today and caught a lot of fish, we have two extras and would like to know if you want one.” I was a little taken-a-back not really understanding what he was talking about and told him we already had food and didn’t need any but thanks anyways. As he turned to leave Emily, who had stepped away from the table just before the boys came up, returned and asked what the boy wanted he explained himself again. Emily said, “sure we’ll take a fish” and the boys in delight ran off. Moments later they returned with a trout in a plastic bag, sure enough it was fresh.
I wasn’t even really sure how to cook it, so the boy explained to me how his dad did it. They were both sweet young boys, and their innocence and kindness struck me. It reminded me of how God shares with us unexpectedly, and how often I am quick to move on to something else instead of hearing people out (see the first spiritual inventory question). If I would have listened to the boy’s more closely I would have realized they were just doing a nice thing and weren’t trying to trick us or something. There are all kinds of thoughts that came through my head after those boys walked away. I was remind of Biblical stories like the “fish and loaves” and Jesus’ talking about the “the faith of a child.” But the simplest thing that should be taken away is the importance of sharing and being willing to receive a shared gift. This may have been the one thing I needed more than anything else this weekend: oh and the Sequoias of course.