Wonder, majesty, awe. Those are words that come to mind when you stand next to a tree that is a millenia-and-a-half old and approximately as tall as the Humana Building. They are all true. None of them come close to the experience. But it’s one thing to stand next to a mystery. It’s another to live next to it. I got a chance to visit the redwoods this summer because we were bringing my nephew Laz home from UC Santa Cruz, where he just finished his first year. UCSC is built among redwoods. He has a favorite spot where he likes to sling his hammock between two trees and study with trees towering over him.
The closest I’ve come to that kind of experience (and it’s a pretty decent second, I think) is my years in seminary in Louvain, Belgium where I used to pass the jewel-box of a medieval town hall on my walk to the grocery. The grocery mind you! There’s just something about having awe and wonder plopped down in the middle of my everyday life that reminds me that it’s ALL wonder and mystery, whether I pay attention to it or not.
A subtle reminder in these summer days is when I run into tourists in my neighborhood. People who use their vacation to experience the place where I live. Yes, there is something of mystery and wonder in the streets I walk every day.
God is close. Always. Everywhere.