I’ll admit it. I hate Wisconsin a lot. It’s not really Wisconsin that I hate, though. I wholeheartedly despise winter. Sure, pristine, fluffy snow with 30 degree temperatures around the holidays is fine. However, that beautiful snow quickly turns to slushy mush. Thirty degree days turn into sub-zero temperatures with blasting wind chills. During this season, all I want to do is curl up into a ball with the warmest clothes that I can find and hibernate until summer. My negative feelings towards winter disproportionately have affected my view of Wisconsin as a whole. Wisconsin is actually a beautiful state–filled with vast flowers, trees, and wildlife. If I step outside my negative state of mind caused by my hatred of winter, I realize how wonderful God’s creation is. In fact, when I am able to get outside, I feel God’s presence most intimately.
Recently, I decided to go on a evening walk after work. Normally, I’m so exhausted from work that the only activities that I can do afterwards are eat and sleep. Anyways, I was proud that I could muster up the energy to get moving outside. What a powerful experience. I felt as though my whole walk was a prayer with God. Sometimes, I straight up talked with Him about my concerns or about petitions that I had for other people. The rest of the walk was almost like a mediation. I could feel God everywhere–in the clear blue sky swirled with cirrus clouds; in the smell of the blooming lilacs; in the simplicity of sheep grazing in front of a rustic red barn; and in the smiles of preschoolers as they played tee-ball in the field next to an old one-room school house.
Sometimes when I’m on vacation and I get to experience new scenery (the Caribbean, the Grand Canyon, the Badlands, etc.), it’s easy to feel God amidst His stunning creation. However, it’s easy to forget to notice God where you live because it’s familiar. This walk reminded me, though, that God’s presence is abundant everywhere if we take the time to notice it. As I walked along talking to God, I was able to view my familiar hometown with a new lense. I was able to appreciate the beauty that resides in Wisconsin, even though I still struggle to get through its winters. Being in nature fills me with such peace. In the craziness of this world, nature is still and pure. It’s always there, waiting to be admired and explored.
So if you are interested in a new spiritual experience, try going on a nature walk. Just walk and see where God takes you. If you let God speak, I bet you will see the beauty and tranquility that surrounds you.
Lots of love,