Yesterday, I shared on several photography groups that this sunrise moment yesterday was “achingly beautiful.” The more I thought about it through the day the more that I wondered about that phrase. Why “achingly”?
I thought about how I feel when I wake up in the morning or after I’ve been sitting for a while. The body is a bit stiff and there’s that near-automatic instinct to reach up or reach out with my arms or maybe to arch my back a bit. Over the last year or so I have been starting most of my days with 20-30 minutes of yoga and it has made a huge difference in how I feel the rest of the day. But sometimes the moves and stretches ache when I am doing them but when I’m done, there’s a greater sense of openness. What felt tight and closed when I began feels more open and relaxed.
That’s a bit of how I felt with yesterday. I started the walk with tension and anxiety around several things in life and ministry and when I came to this spot and this moment and, after a few minutes receiving some photos of the moment, just took some time to relax in this space. Scout and I just sat there taking it in. In those moments of just stopping, I felt the anxiety and tension release much like what happens after a good stretch. Maybe that’s what “achingly beautiful” means… taking the time to allow beauty before us to stretch the anxiety and worry out of us and allows us to move into a new way of living.
In his latest book, Do I Stay Christian?, Brian McLaren wrote this about finding God in the natural world around us:
[W]e need to enter the natural world mindfully, reverently, as silently as we can, waiting for the beauty, intricacy, and wonder of what is outside us to overwhelm and hush the barrage of words chattering inside our heads. In this silent encounter with the natural world, we render ourselves vulnerable to it so it can impress upon us a new inner architecture, one that is shaped by and in harmony with its wordless patterns and wisdom.McLaren, Brian D.. Do I Stay Christian? (p. 179). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.