Growing up we camped a lot, I have fond memories of adventures to new states, exploring the world around us in a very intimate way, in a way we became one with the world around us. Something about sleeping in a tent, the sounds of the woodland creatures, chirps of a cricket, and being awakened by the sun’s gentle and warm reminder. I love it, there immersed in nature, I find purpose.
As a mom, I desired to share the gift of tent camping. We spend our summers sleeping in tents, learning to enjoy the sounds of the world around us, peeing outside and getting dirty. We stay up late, play with bugs, catch frogs, get wet and climb trees, living our days by very few rules, there in the wild. I watch my kids and dogs run free, doing the things they were created for.
Since we experience very cold weather we only really get to enjoy it about 5 months out of the year, at least comfortably. A couple of weekends ago, we went camping and it was perfect weather, one of my favorite things is to leave our rain flap off, risky move, since midwest weather can turn on a dime, but I love it. Laying in the tent with the dogs and the crew watching the stars, dreaming big and whispering wishes. This particular weekend we had an even greater treat, it happened to be a clear night with a meteor shower. As we watched the lights zoom across the sky, we marveled at the sheer vastness of sky above. The night sky has a beautiful way, of reminding us we are small, yet in that smallness not insignificant.
Being outdoors, stirs, heals and focuses my heart. As the sun sets and coolness fills the air, around the campfire it seems as though life pauses, the combination of darkness and flickering fire, hearts become vulnerable and real life is discussed. As the fire and conversation dwindles, we return to our tents, laying there I try to ignore the lumps beneath me and slip into sleep, I stare at the stars and contemplate life. When, for a brief moment responsibility slips away, the world is quiet, accompanied by the sounds of nature. It is there I feel the weight of life melt away and for a brief moment it all seems so clear, overwhelmed by the beauty and the goodness of this life.
The practice of allowing ourselves to feel small is important. The daily grind of life, makes it easy to be consumed by our own circumstances, to allow moments of smallness refocuses our heart and reminds us that life is so much bigger than just us. Our contribution is so important and needed, but we are merely a part of something greater.
In a culture that breeds self focus, it is easy to be consumed by our world, giving us the perspective that it is all that matters, it really becomes a hurdle to look beyond, casting a shadow over all we do. Like nature, the world is made up of many people, working together for the greater good. In nature, trees, a stream, bees and rabbits, all consumed and motivated by their role in the forest.
What would happen if we lived our daily lives viewing our role as significant, vital even? Each choice we make though small has a ripple effect that changes the very course of our environment. Much like a tree brings shade, worms decompose, each part is essential to the health of the forest, each of us living out our call in our world has the potential to change the world around us. When I spend my time observing nature, I realize how important my role is. I am currently finding myself in a season of life, I am renewing my focus and looking beyond myself to the direction I am heading and navigating the very effect that has on the world around me. Desiring to do good for my world, desiring to pursue my specific role and looking to those around me and watching as they do theirs, in those moments I realize there is such beauty in this life watching us work together.