This house is dark. It is nice for sleeping or watching movies but the lazy residue of those who live here fog up the windows and let little to no sunlight in. It is quiet. It is sullen. It is a beast with missing potential, only dripping what is left of the dry remains onto the carpet, staining it in soft, silent argument. The slow death of action and thought cling to the walls like dust waiting to be drawn in.
Why is it that we go to beaches, climb mountains, slip into the cool bonds of a free-flowing river in order to find our greatest sense of peace? Why do we awe in the beauty of the sunset, the promise of the dawn, the feel of the cool, wet mud beneath or feet?
Imagine squishing your feet around in this mud. Do you feel the chunks of clay, the rough outline of a leaf brush against your toes, a worm wiggle under the arch of your foot? Is it a thick, heavy mud, or is it creamy, the product of a recent rain? Is it a dark, almost black or does it gleam a rusty red? Is your mud warm and gentle or is does it have a biting chill? Let it slosh up onto your ankles. Roll up your jeans if you’re wearing them; perhaps allow a hand to slide into the slippery concoction to feel it just a bit more.
In Costa Rica we visited Cafe Cristina, an all-natural coffee farm where everything is cultivated on the land. Every bit of what would be considered “waste” is part of an intricate process in which the elements in the air and a wild combination of worms and beetles break down the extra grass, suffocating weeds, fall brush, and rotting seeds and turned into a compost that carries more nutrients than any man-made fertilizer. This compost in turn is used for the growth of new plants and trees. The natural process is cost-effective, cuts down on the amount toxins emitted into the air, land, and water, and significantly reduces the amount of waste the farm produces. The whole thing is more than a respect for nature, it is a connection to it.
Perhaps this draw is due to the simple fact that we are created from such nature.
Earth was created from the debris of gasses and dust that were left over from the formation of the sun, which in turn collided to form comets and asteroids. Over millions of years these collisions began to form planets. Water began to show up as the earliest volcanoes ejected mass amounts of steam, and, nearly 3 billion years ago, new underwater bacteria used a combination of this water, carbon dioxide, and the sun’s energy to create an energy of its own- photosynthesis. This established oxygen in the oceans and atmosphere, allowing for life to develop into the complex form that it is today.
Life began with dust. Life began when God took this dust and breathed into it the breath of life (Gen. 2:7). And, just like the mud we loved to slosh around in when we were young or the beautiful mountains that take our breath away or the mysterious jungle floor that is painted with hundreds of thousands of living creatures, we are created from the dust of the ground, and this dust is good. We are Good.
There is a reason we go outside to rest and find peace. It is in this wilderness that we find home, that we find ourselves, and, ultimately, that we find God.