“Mom, I’m just going to sit here and watch nature,” my 5-year-old said as she rocked in an old rocker on our porch of peeling blue paint.
With weeks ahead of us here at home with schools closed and social distancing being practiced, we’ll be doing a lot of nature watching. And while it never feels good to be “confined,” we will do what we always do here at this house on the hill: look for all that is good and holy. And now, we turn our eyes to nature to show us the way.
When I'm anxious or afraid or if my children are anxious or afraid, here’s a simple thing that works for us: we sit and we watch nature. By doing this, I think we can see a way through because nature shows us that it's possible.
For example, look here, at this stack of rocks. Show your kids the stack of rocks. Ask them what they notice? What jumps out at them?
When I showed my kids this picture, I asked them these questions:
Do you see that very green moss in the dead of winter making its way through the cracks?
Do you see how vibrant and alive it is, even as the rocks are cold and barren?
By showing them how nature does it, it can help us to show them how to keep pushing through the shadows of uncertain times, just like the moss through the rocks. Despite less than perfect conditions, the moss exists and not only that, it grows. It THRIVES!
By framing out that these uneasy times — yes, even these fearful, uncertain times — are like the rocks and we are the MOSS. We’ll continue to exist and persist and these hard times will grow us in ways we don’t expect. We'll grow as families in our own homes but we'll also grow as communities, too, as we rally together to check on one another, to practice social distancing, to keep the vulnerable safe.
So, in the coming weeks, when you or your children feel overwhelmed, walk outside in your yard or on a balcony — or, if you don't have either and are in a city, open your window. It's amazing that despite the world feeling a bit tipsy-turvy, nature persists and it just does what it's always done. You’ll hear the birds chirping. You’ll hear the rain falling or the wind blowing. You’ll see those daffodils poking up through cold dirt no matter what, and they will show you how to go on, even as we worry.
Even during these times — especially during these times! — nature will show us the way. Until things feel less uncertain, we'll just sit and watch nature.
*If you liked this encouragement, you might like Kara's new book, EVERYWHERE HOLY: Seeing Beauty, Remembering Your Identity, and Finding God Right Where You Are, available now everywhere books are sold. Please visit the book's website, www.everywhereholy.com or Kara on www.karalawler.com Or, please join Kara's conversation tribe on Facebook.