Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reaching the Moon

In hopes of reaching the moon, men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet. -Albert Schweitzer

How true is this?

How often are we so busy with our everyday lives that we cannot simply sit back and see the beauty all around us?  Today's American culture is focused on moving forward.  Our minds are fixated on the thoughts of bigger and better things: CDs to iPods, VHS to DVDs, bikes to cars to airplanes... the more luxuries that our world can create, the further ahead we strive to become.

Sixty years ago, the thought of reaching the moon seemed like an impossibility.  Now we look past the moon to bigger and better things... we wonder how to explore new planets, new galaxies.

And look at our hectic schedules!  How often do we stop for tea time like some of our ancestors did?  Since when do we actually sit down and enjoy a peaceful sabbath day?  We have to make it to school on time, take the kids to soccer practice and violin lessons, study for the huge exam on Friday, meet a friend for lunch...

A common saying in Kenya is, "Americans have watches, but Africans have time."  I found that this was unsettlingly true.  I arrived in Kenya feeling used to the normalcy of rushing about everywhere I went, but peace and calmness ruled the lives of these Kenyans.  They had tea times every day.  They didn't sit an exact time for the start or end of a meeting.   They stopped to talk to one another, to experience things that I never experienced when I was flying out the door, speeding in my car, arriving at my destination in a stressed frenzy.

I have to admit, I have a busy life.  I'm gone all day, even on days when I don't have school.  I'm constantly driving my car along the busy highway, glancing at my watch to see how late I am this time.  Believe it or not, I don't like to be late.  I never seem to have enough time.

Have you ever wondered that same thing?  Why don't I ever have enough time?

I strongly believe that this is not what God wants for us.  He set aside a day of rest for a purpose.  I don't think that the "sabbath" was meant for strict rule-following and legalism.  However, I do think that a day of rest was meant for our benefit.  Humans were not created to rush, rush, rush, without ever stopping to take a break.  That is not how our bodies and minds were made to function.

When you hurry through your life, always looking ahead, how much of your time are you spending on things that actually matter?  How often are you able to truly spend time with your loved ones?  Can you actually enjoy your day without feeling constant stress?  Can you look outside and breathe in the scent of the air and admire the trees and the sky and the flowers all around you?  Are you taking the time to read this?  Do you ever stop to enjoy the little things in life?

For Christmas, I bought one of my friends a day-by-day calendar.  Each day features about ten or fifteen things to be happy about.  My friends and I enjoy reading the things on each page.  Some of them are silly, but some you would never think about, like a rare warm day during the winter months or a smile from a neighbor.

If you want to truly appreciate God's creation, then take a day and spend it outside, simply admiring the earth around you.  For one day out of each week, stop looking forward.  Stop striving to reach the "moon" in your life.  Take some time to relax in prayer and focus on what God wants you to see.  Ask Him to give you peace despite your hectic life.

I, out of all people, realize that it is extremely difficult to take time out of a busy schedule to simply relax, but it is what everyone needs.  God meant for us to have rest.  He didn't have to give us a sabbath day, a twenty-four hour period without work.  Rest is a gift from the Lord, something that we should not take for granted.

Have you taken for granted the gift of rest?  Do you fail to see the flowers that bloom at your feet?  Don't spend your life in a pointless rush.  Take the time to view the world around you with Christ's eyes.

Feel free to comment with your opinion.  Do you have a solution that helps you to keep from taking rest for granted?  Do you have no trouble with this issue at all?  What are some of the little things that you have missed when you've been striving forward too hard?  Do you have any verses that help you when you struggle with being too busy?

If you have any extra questions, comments, or critiques, feel free to send me an email.        

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