I know some really cool people. In getting to know them, I always look to discover what drives them – what motivates them – what foundation they operate from. For example, for me, I stumble after Jesus. But others follow Buddhism, Hinduism, atheism, and other philosophies and belief systems. I learn so much about my own faith and framework from these amazing people. During a recent discussion with my permaculturist friend, there was a profound moment where our belief systems crossed paths.
While we were discussing ultimate reality (e.g., God, Deity, things beyond time and space) and what it means to us personally it was clear that we run on different tracks. I believe in a personal God – the one mentioned in the Bible once or twice. My friend sees God everywhere – in the trees – in the rocks – in nature – in ourselves. He combines a host a rich philosophies and teachings all of which provide meaning and purpose for him.
Then my friend did something strange, at first glance anyway.
You see, we were standing outside in early April. We were next to some shrubs that, to me, didn’t look like much. I certainly didn’t appreciate them anyway. But he did. He picked up a leaf that was lying on the ground. He began to rub it vigorously between his hands – as if he were warming his hands up. He let the crumpled leaf fall gently to the ground and then rubbed his hands all over his face, inhaling deeply, saying “Ah! This is what I do.”
We were discussing some fairly “heady” stuff at the time so I was amused by his display. He smiled and went on to tell me that the shrub we were standing next to was a sage bush and that it has incredible healing properties and essential oils. His appreciation of what I believe to be God’s creation was clear. My friend connected us. He showed me the value, the wonder, and the beauty of a shrub. In thirty seconds he connected us in ways that no religion or philosophy could do.
The conversation that ensued focused around care, sustainability, and stewardship for God’s creation.
We live in a world where many think we own the earth (that it’s ours for the taking). My friend lives in harmony with the land. He knows it intimately. He seeks to sustain it for the good of all – just as God charged us to do.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson