In case you didn’t know it, I just recently relocated from Pensacola, Fla., to Dubuque, Iowa, to attend seminary… and yes, that is a long way from home!
The drive up from Florida was the first time I have ever taken any really long driving trip. This may not be the experience for many of you, but since my extended family lived close by when I was growing up, I missed out on that whole “Griswald Family” trek across the country each summer. And so for me (and for my sister and her 16-year-old son who came with me), this journey to the Midwest was a revelation.
We traveled for two days going over 1100 miles, through eihjt different states and crossed the Mississippi River four times! Each stop along the way, we talked about how things just looked different depending on what state we were in. The road looked different… the trees looked different… heck, even the sky looked different! I was profoundly moved when we came over the rise of a hill in Missouri and saw the green valley below us. I was amazed at all the fields and farms when we drove through Arkansas. And I was breathless over just how verdant and green the rolling cornfields were in Iowa. It wasn’t that I didn’t know these places existed… I was just unprepared for how much I could feel the presence of God in each and every vista.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t come from a place where there was beauty and splendor. After all, who can say that there isn’t some divine magnificence in those sugar-white beaches of Pensacola?!
No, I guess what I wanted to make note of is that so often we take our surroundings for granted. We pass by the miracle of creation without a moment’s hesitation or some pause to appreciate God’s wonderful work. But on this trip… I noticed!
Psalm 26:8 says, “I love your sanctuary, Lord, the place where your glory shines.” Take a quick moment today to look out your window and see God’s sanctuary. Live in that space for just a few moments. Isn’t God’s world beautiful?
Jennifer Michael, newly of Dubuque, Iowa, is president of Women of the ELCA for the 2011-2014 triennium.
Photo by Carl Wycoff. Used with permission.