A leaf. A creek. The middle of the woods.
I was in the middle of the woods yesterday in Paris Mountain State Park, sitting on a picnic table next to a creek. This particular picnic table next to the creek is quickly becoming one of my favorite little spots. It's slightly off the trail, and you have to really look for it in order to see it.
The creek is shallow, but the water flows pretty quickly, and as I was sitting there yesterday, a leaf was floating around the bend. It caught my attention, because this leaf looked like a boat. The back was upright like a sail. The front of the leaf was the deck. It looked like it was going somewhere with purpose. With pride. With intent.
I watched it make its way around the corner towards me. I felt so honored to be the one chosen to watch it. No one, before or after me, will ever see that leaf float down that creek. Of all the people on the earth. Of all the eyes on this planet, that leaf was meant for me.
It eventually got caught in a bit of grass and stopped its journey down stream. I’m sure its still there now, its final resting place before it dissolves into the creek and becomes a part of the big mystery of everything that came before it. That big mystery that awaits everything, you and me included.
Talking about a mountain he once saw, Thomas Merton said that, “He is alone in his own character; nothing else in the world ever did or ever will intimate God in the same way. That is his sanctity.”
I love that idea. That nothing in the world will intimate God in the same way I will. No one will intimate God the same way you will. Or your friends or your parents or your kids. There will be leaves and birds and clouds that no one will see but you. Maybe that’s what we’re here for. So God can see the world from our individual angles. And if I can be aware of God seeing the world through my eyes then maybe, just maybe, I can start to see the world through hers. Where every one is equal. Where everyone is worthy of love.
Or maybe there's no meaning at all. Maybe a leaf is just a leaf and a creek is just a creek. Maybe the fact that I was the only one who saw it means nothing.
But if that's the case, what would there be to write about? There has to be meaning, even if we simply add it for ourselves. I think that's enough.
Let it be enough.
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