23 Dec Peace for the Holidays
A Unitarian Universalist minister once told me that an ice-breaker question he often used was this: “What have you done in the last three or four weeks that you would consider spiritual?” The answers he got back often involved interactions with pets, kids, or the elderly, or experiences outside, in nature. The point of his story was that few people looked to the church for spiritual fulfillment.
What I heard, and what I have reflected on many times since, is that the spiritual need most of us feel is often and increasingly met by spending time in nature.
In previous centuries, when people were surrounded by wilderness and wild things, they built temples as places of spiritual refuge. The most wealthy and privileged put up the money and set aside sanctuaries where they saw and were seen by their peers. People of more modest means made pilgrimages to touch the shrine, or to be awed and renewed by the grandeur of the structure.
Now that we are surrounded by human structures and grandeur, the most wealthy and privileged among us put up the money and set aside safe havens of wilderness as sanctuaries for wild things and human spiritual renewal (and to see and be seen by our peers). People of more modest means make pilgrimages to touch and smell, or to be awed and renewed by the grandeur of the natural structure.
What you are doing as a land trust – what we are all doing together – is IMPORTANT. We are establishing modern temples of spiritual renewal. For your role in that critical work, I say THANK YOU! for all of us and for all of those to follow. Keep it up in 2015!
Peace to you and yours this holiday season.
Photo credit: Snowshoeing along the Trail, courtesy of Walt Kaesler.