[This is a repost from January 30, 2002; since that site’s no longer around, I thought I’d recycle it.]
This whole column started when I watched the news… I know, I know, the news never bodes well for me… But this story got me thinking…
A lady in my state of Wisconsin has the image of Jesus in her tree. This seemed an absurd news story to me — after all, just how does this affect my life? And the bigger question: So what? Doesn’t everyone see their version of God, or the beauty of spirit, in nature?
I don’t see God in this (poor) photo. But I am not a skeptic when it comes to spirituality; I see & believe in miracles on a personal level. I just don’t understand why some folks need to have such a literal message to be inspired.
I think this is a huge case of not being able to see the forest for the trees (or maybe I should say: not being able to see the beauty for God).
I guess that is my problem with folks in general. I know that true religious or spiritual growth is not of material things, they are of the soul. Therefore, I realize that I cannot buy my way into heaven, nor should I enjoy the physical world & ignore the needs of spirit. But, the physical world and spiritual enlightenment are not mutually exclusive.
In many religions, like Hinduism for example, the stages in a man’s life are dictated by age & experiences. First he must be a child, then be a husband/provider, and then, when his children are grown, he must leave all the trappings of home, including his family & wander, homeless, to find God. This seems perverse, but ultimately, one first conquers the world he lives in, then un-learns it all to master the enlightenment of the soul.
God or Spirit has sent us here to learn. Part of that involves the tools of the physical world. And, this maker or guide, has taken great pains to make sure our physical realm is full of beauty.
To ignore that beauty, to not drink it in & let it inspire & touch us, well that is a sin in my book. As Alice Walker wrote in ‘The Color Purple,’ and I paraphrase here, “it really pisses off God when you walk by the color purple and not notice it.”
I guess that is one reason why I try to fill my world with beauty. It is not simple vanity, or a materialistic need to own, but to really connect with, to have my senses filled with the beauty of spirit. In the many days of testing, growth, challenges I face in this world, I need to keep my connection with spirit alive. To be mindful of the glory that is here. To feel the joy of the wonder of spirit/nature/God/Goddess.
And in nature particularly, I see not just the raw beauty of the ‘object,’ but the essence of the spirit of the being, and the glory of the lessens in its own path or life.
So, in returning to the lady with Jesus in her tree, I guess I feel sad that this is the first time she has really seen her tree. And I realize, with a heavy heart, that there are so many like her…
Perhaps, the world today would be a more joyous one if people everywhere truly looked at every tree and saw their own image of God in it.