Sunday, August 15, 2010

Peace Comes From Within

    Our family traveled to Estes Park, Colorado for vacation.  We obtained some rest and relaxation, but the primary purpose of the visit was to experience the beauty of the mountains and to visit the wildlife there.  We entered the Rocky Mountain National Park just up the road to see what we could see.  We saw a coyote crossing the road in front of us.  None of us in the car had ever seen a coyote.  That was cool.  There must have been some good reason for the marmots to be on the edge of the road that day.  We saw six or more poised in perfect view throughout the day, just far enough away from the car that they remained where they were, as if on display.
   We looked long and hard to see a moose on the other side of the park, closer to Grand Lake, where the moose live.  Near the end of our quest, we spotted a search party of other moose-seekers, out of their cars, binoculars in hand, pointing to the woods nearby.  There was our moose.  I love to see a moose.  She was a small female, munching away on the brush, barely visible behind the trees.  But, nonetheless, we saw a moose.
    We saw elk, too, of course, since they are plentiful in that region and have little to no fear of humans.  We saw herds of female elk, but only one small male on our search in the park.  It’s pretty special to see a large male elk with a rack of 7-point antlers.  Upon our return, we were all tired from our day of driving over the tops of the mountains and back again.  When we pulled toward our cabin, we stopped.  There, within fifteen feet of us was our very own 5-point elk.  We all sat, bewildered, staring at him eating the bush we had been parking next to in the driveway all week.  Windows open and cameras drawn, we  gawked and snapped pictures, but also sat in silence and in awe.  
    My Mom said, later, “We looked for elk all day in the park and all we had to do was come home.”  She had no idea how profound I thought her statement was.  All we had to do was come home to find what we were looking for.  We search, sometimes in addictive ways, to fill the emptiness with something, anything.  We shop, drink, have too much sex, gamble, to find something that we don’t have, that might finally satiate our hunger for peace within ourselves.  Sometimes we immerse ourselves in our friends or church or books or work, hoping to fill the void.  Sometimes it feels like we are on a gerbil wheel, running and getting nowhere, not ever getting any closer to feeling whole.  Friends, church and books can be resources to use to get to where we want to be.  Friends can play an invaluable role in our lives.  The community, fellowship and religious ritual found in church is essential to the hearts of those that feel close to God there.
     But God is everywhere, including within us.  We don't need to look anywhere for peace, only to know it is already there.   "Be still and know that I am God."

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