I don't mind wandering in the woods. Thinking of everything. Thinking of nothing. Not even thinking at all. Absorbing. Listening. The birds singing, calling, darting about in the treetops, swooping through the trees and over a break in the woods. The wind rustling through the leaves. Distant tires rumble over gravel. Squirrels stirring up leaves as they sprint across the forest floor. Deer appear out of nowhere, silently foraging until they notice me. They glance in curiosity then wind their way between the trees, over the hill, and out of sight.
The woods are an escape and a focus. A place to run away from the world. A place to embrace solitude and get lost in thought.
Even as I stand between the sturdy pines, I wrestle to free my thoughts.
Worry has followed me. Seared into my mind like the charred crust on a burned tree. The noise of life, the whirling world, the busyness that chokes joy and dreams--they have followed me, glued to my mind, and spoiling my place of peace.
Is there no escape?
I close my eyes, trying to cast off all distraction. And I wait--praying, hoping for peace that I desperately need. The sounds around me slowly fade to silence. And I feel the unrelenting, never-resting yet ever-restful presence of the One who bears all my distractions, all my scars, all my brokenness. Though I cannot see Him, I fix my eyes upon Him.
He is the peace, the solitude, the rhyme, the rhythm, the reason I've come to the woods. To be alone from my worries. To be together with Him.
I've run the fast, ridiculous race that everyone runs but no one wins. The furious sprint through our brief lives. Driven by temporal, material motives, we strive for unattainable perfection and live pretending living never ends. As we run our race, distractions, worry, unsolicited cares wrap their unyielding fingers around our ankles, our wrists, our throats, and around our minds.
But there is a peace that defies our worries, a calm that conquers our concerns, a joy that overwhelms and erases our doubts and distractions.
And so, as I stand between the sturdy pines with my eyes closed, feeling the cool breeze against my face. I breathe deeply, empty my thoughts, and fix my eyes on the Writer of my life, the One who edits my mistakes and takes them upon Himself, the One who forgets the dark chapters and discards them, the One who perfects His finished work in my story. And I relax and find my peace, knowing He is the Author and Finisher of the life I pretended to control. I rest my thoughts in Him. My distractions disappear. Worries wane. And hope rises, met with joy.
I don't mind wandering in the woods.