Tonight some of us Donohues went berry picking at a park near our house. We picked wineberries. They’re the ones that grow wild all over the place right now and are a bit more tart than raspberries. They’re thorny though. You come out looking like you got in a fight with a wolverine.
In the process, we met a toad hopping at our feet, two bright orange schools of carp working on their synchronized swimming in the pond, birds I wish I knew the names of, and hopefully no deer ticks. But you never know.
We also came across two groups of teens in the park playing Pokemon Go and huddled in groups staring at their phones.
Now before you think I’m straight out of “Little House on the Prairie” and I’m going to wax eloquent about the beauties of nature and evils of technology, I will confess that instead of berry pails we used big plastic Wawa cups, we took a (rather unflattering) family selfie with an evil iPhone, and afterwards we paid way too much at a suburban, commercialized ice cream store. Yum.
I also know that some would say the Pokemon game actually gets people into parks and that’s a good thing. It’s probably a lot of fun.
I’m not out to make a statement, only an observation:
When I turn off all the screens and devices and slow down my soul, when I step out of my man-made productivity machine and into the intricate beauty of this world God has set me in, I’m moved.
Here is what I see: Red berries, made of tiny flavorful spheres, peeking through green leaves. Fish dancing together with nobody watching. Grass growing as if only to cushion my feet. Long white clouds lined up in obedient rows.
In a word, ARTISTRY.
And no matter what kind of funk I’m in, or bill paying I just finished, or argument I refereed, I’m reminded of God. I can’t help it.
Who are the fish dancing for? Why are the berries so perfect? Why is the moss so soft? Why does the breeze catch the leaves like that? Is this place magical?
God is such a good Father: he puts reminders of himself everywhere. He gives me his truth to read in the Bible, he gives me his Spirit to guide my heart, and because he knows how dumb I can be, he’s given me a world filled with a gazillion little pieces of beauty that scream his name. “Remember who made this!” they say to me.
It’s an easy reminder today: close the book, put down the phone, leave the pile of tee-shirts unfolded, and go outside to look and listen, just for a little while. See what God reminds you of.
Seriously. Try it.
Maybe those kids looking for Pokemon ended up noticing the fish and the berries. I hope so. They sure seemed excited about looking for something that wasn’t really there. If they looked past the game, I wonder if they’d see Someone who is.