Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Big Bear Hug from Jesus.

For my class, Beauty and the Christian Life, we had to experience natural or artistic beauty and write a paper on it. For my paper, I went home and went to this place at home that is probably my favorite place in the entire world. 

I guess i wanted to share this with you because as i was typing out my paper, i had a really profound experience where i realized why i was so connected to this place and why it is so deeply important to me... you probably won't read it, but here you go...

Aesthetic Report 1...

This spot is a quiet park a block from the ocean near my home and is my favorite spot of just about any place inthe world. The park is situated on a steep rolling hill just above the sand and offers a panoramic and unobstructed view of the ocean. There is nearly always a breeze and offers a wonderful setting to sleep, people watch, watch boats on the water, read, and relax in every sense of the word. It is difficult to park near the park so it is generally empty and allows for you to get away from it all without really going anywhere.

The park is really interesting because it is terraced as it goes down a hill toward the ocean. There are five different terraced sections of the park, each fully landscaped with well-manicured lawns, with a number of benches and low, light trees dotting the landscape. I like to sit up a little higher in the park to maximize my view of the ocean and horizon, as well as allow myself to watch others enjoying the park. This particular day was gorgeous. There is not a lot of shade in the park to maximize the view of the ocean, so the direct view of the sun made it surprisingly warm; there was a really soft breeze, and high clouds seemingly enjoying the day along with me.

I went down to the water for a while and listened to the waves. I watched the surfers and the couples strolling along the chilly beach. The water has always been a very spiritual place for me. Not as in surfing or swimming, but in the way that living at the beach seems to connect you to the ocean in a dynamic way. My life has always had the Pacific Ocean in sight. It has been just as much character in my life as any friend or family member. So to be there at the water’s edge was much like being with an old friend. I chose not to engage my mind in anything at this point. I felt a profound sense that I was just sitting there with God. I was sitting in the midst of thousands of examples of his creation, all reflecting the dynamic creativity of God, and offering praise to the creator. I explored this idea so much at a worship school over the summer and the thought just echoed in my mind.

Sometimes I wonder if even I, someone who considers himself a major proponent of the use and respect of beauty in the church, limit the reach and capabilities of beauty at the hands of a loving God. It wasn’t that I looked upon creation and was just reminded of God, or stood in awe of his creativity, or thanked him that I got to experience something like this on the earth. It is in this place that I feel most strongly that God loves me. When I spend time in this park, it is one of the only times that I always feel that God is loving on me. Walking into this park is like walking into the embrace of the father. I don’t think I could ever express this to you in words how much I feel that the father loves me. To feel that I am his favorite and that he truly delights in my presence and in my life. To know that I am not a fluke, accident, or happenstance creation, but I am a cherished son of the Most High.

            I think that is why I come back to this place. Because sometimes I just need a hug from my Daddy. I think that is why beauty is beautiful to me.