Beholding

Yesterday I was outside all day working in my  yard.  While I am not a fan of weeding or pushing a wheelbarrow full of mulch, I do relish observing the wonders of creation, like the many-legged shiny brown creature that skittered across the dirt when I pulled up his hiding place.

Ornamental Petunia plant.

Ornamental Petunia plant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At one point during my day, a thought flashed through my mind about how  terrible it would be to lose my sight and, therefore, the experience of brilliantly yellow marigolds and green, well-watered grass, and  the pink, red, yellow, and lavender miniature petunias in my hanging plants.  (Blindness is no longer  a passing hypothetical; a few years ago, in the middle of an unknown part of Grand Rapids in the darkness of night my, vision blurred and faded to the point where I could no longer read the brightly lit store signs, let alone street signs.  I do not know how I made it home.  Later I learned that I prednisone raises blood sugar.  I had been given a triple dose that day by a physician’s assistant who didn’t realize that I am diabetic)

So yesterday when I envisioned missing the beauty of nature, I went into problem-solving mode.  I realized that I could easily bring to mind the tall-stemmed beauties in Holland’s  tulip lanes and the blossoms of the flowering trees outside of my church – all of which have disappeared after two weeks of loveliness.  I thought, “I need to be intentional about creating memories of beauty,” so I stopped my  weeding and gazed  intentionally at the ducks on the pond and the red-leafed ornamental tree in my yard.  Cal DeWitt, world-renowned Christian biologist, calls that  process “beholding” and encourages us to make “beholding” a spiritual practice.  I eagerly nodded my head when I heard him recommend that at a conference last Saturday,  but after yesterday, I have new motivation.

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2 Responses to Beholding

  1. Leanne McFall says:

    Love it!

  2. I just found this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson on a friend’s e-mail and it seems to fit with this blog. It made me smile: “The earth laughs in flowers.”

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