Take the time to cherish our natural beauty
Wednesday afternoon I was racing back to the office, late for an appointment.
Lost in thought and worried over something probably not worth worrying about, it wasn’t until I pulled out onto Highway 9 and headed for Dillon that I noticed what no one should have missed.
It was holy time.
The clouds were stretched out across the Gore Range and on up toward Kremmling. The sun’s setting light painted the scene in a brilliant burst of orange and red and yellow.
I can’t remember, but I may have shouted out loud. I do know I pulled off to the side of the road and sat there surrounded by the beauty. I was tempted to flag the folks coming in from Steamboat and force them to encounter this magnificent moment with me.
Instead, I just sat stunned by the beauty of creation and awed by the privilege of life.
Living in this beautiful place, we all have shared these treasured times.
Holy times, I like to call them, because they are just as sacred to me as a Sunday morning or grace before dinner. They are moments when we realize again the utter joy of simply being alive.
The tragedy, of course, is that too often such holy time is neglected or ignored. We all get caught up in the busy-ness of our business. We forget the very reason for our residing here in the first place.
Holy time is not limited to scenes of breathtaking beauty. There are moments of splendor and grace quite apart from our spectacular surroundings that call us to stop and reflect on the meaning of life and our reason for being.
With all our children now living elsewhere, I am feeling particularly vulnerable to images of time right now. Like many of you, I have too often failed to cherish the profound pleasures that surround all of us each day.
From spectacular mountain sunsets to quiet moments between parent and child, these are holy times and there is tragedy in our failing to savor them.
I read recently that the once-familiar ritual of family dinnertime is becoming less common. With parents forced (or choosing) to spend more time at their jobs and less with their spouse and children, another opportunity for discovering the treasure of holy time goes unexplored. Even a half-hour spent in conversation, real phone-off-the-hook, TV-turned-off conversation, will reveal the immense pleasures of sharing in holy time.
In a wonderful book I never grow tired of reading, there is the reminder that “The kingdom of God is in your midst.” And it is. Each time we stop doing whatever it is that prevents us from quieting down, looking around and sharing in the beauty of holy time.
There is a wonderfully complex word that sums up all that I mean when I write of holy time. The word is eschatology.
Isn’t that a great sounding word? And its meaning is even better! It is used when you want to talk about experiencing this kingdom of God.
Now there are some that would limit God to certain places, actions or words but I think that is pretty poor eschatology.
The kingdom of God is all around us. All we need to do is take a little holy time.
This may be a shocking transition but I think it proves my point. One of my favorite places for holy time is in the bathroom. There you can lock the door and shut out the distractions that prevent you from taking holy time.
In the bathroom you can ponder or pray, ruminate or read. Recently I read this during a holy time: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander Time; for that’s the stuff Life is made of.”
It was written by Benjamin Franklin and it shows what a great sense of eschatology he had. It is also the stuff by which we experience the kingdom of God. What a shame to waste it.
In the 20-plus years I have lived in Summit County, I have come to a growing awareness of just how precious and beautiful life can be. These occasional realizations are moments I cherish and treasure.
Holy time is what I call it but you might like eschatology. Either way the result is the same.
It is good. It is God.
Rich Mayfield writes a Saturday column for the Summit Daily News. We think he has a holy time or two when his fingers are upon the keyboard.
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