What do you see?


Last week I was hiking. I was not looking for anything, I was just looking. The fog gentle caressed the earth. A light breeze made the leaves lift and fall like wings. The birds soared above on wings and the songs soared from below. I stopped and felt a huge rock. The sharp edges of the crystalline granite grabbed by fingers. It was cool to the touch. Then I lifted my eyes, and saw the heart. I took the picture. I love it. I love the greens and blues of the lichen. I like the red of the underlying granite against the water stained granite behind.

I have lots of pictures of hearts that I see in the natural world. I have lots of rocks that I have slipped into my pockets while hiking that are heart shaped. One I remember clearly was from a black sand beach. Cindy and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary and walking and listening to the sea. There was a bright white piece of coral that had been tumbled by the waves and smoothed into the shape of a heart. Whenever I look at that photo, I remember the joy of the discovery.

I also remember that as a boy I had been on a black sand beach with my family. I was in the 3rd grade. We were skipping rocks, and juggling coconuts and running to the waters edge like sandpipers and then running away as the water lapped at our heels. Then suddenly it happened. A huge wave rose up and tendered ashore and took my brother and my mother from their feet to their faces in a flash. What came next really matters to me. There was laughter.

My mother and my brother were shaken, but not distressed. They looked like wet rats. The dry clothes were miles away, but the response was joy. We picked them up and took a few health steps away from the water and laughed and kidded about it for as long as I can remember. Years later, I was walking with Cindy and Steve Akin along a rocky shoreline and the same script was repeated. They both got drenched with water and the giggles.

What are you looking for and what do you see? I think we take a perspective with us wherever we go. Some people see the darkness others the light. Some people hear the birds and others the noise. Some people feel the bumps and the scrapes others sense the age and the wisdom. Some people see love wherever they look. Paul proclaims in the book of Romans, “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (1:20). I think it means that you can look around and see the fingerprints of God. In the world and in the people around you. You just have to be looking for it.