Sipping my coffee in my backyard oasis, I notice life everywhere I look. Butterflies glide through the patches of flowers, floating on the breeze. Bees hover over the grass, occasionally landing for just a moment before continuing their flight path. Squirrels chase each other through the yard, then stop to eat, or to bury their food for later. Crows sit on the fence letting out their sharp caws as they communicate with one another. A lone cardinal is at the bird feeder, chirping until his mate joins him. Over the fence I hear a flock of geese honking as they splash in the retention pond. So much life happening all around me, and I smile as I absorb the beauty.
I walk to the front yard, and see a strange car driving slowly down the street. Immediately I stop and watch, more suspicious than curious. A woman runs down the road with her dog, which is her daily habit, and I notice the shape of her body, quickly assessing that I will never get to that size and judging myself. A group of men stand in the driveway a few doors down, and I bristle at their boisterous conversation, wondering who they are and what they want. A peal of laughter from a child across the way causes me to pause and decide if that was a laugh or a cry for help. No longer relaxed, I go back inside my house.
Why the disconnect?
I can’t help but realize how differently I approach humans than nature. The back yard was just as noisy, bustling with activity, yet I was able to simply observe all that life with love in my heart. When faced with humans, however, my heart changed. Suspicion, comparison, and alertness filled my mind instead of love.
If I am being honest with myself, I need to acknowledge this disconnect and understand it is not healthy. Why is it so much easier to accept and love the life I see in nature than the life I see in the human being in front of me? When I look at the butterfly floating slowly through the yard, do I get suspicious of his motive? When I see a bee hovering over the grass, busy working hard, do I compare myself to her and judge myself for not having that kind of stamina? The gathering of boisterous crows on the fence does not make me wonder what they want and why they are there. When I hear the honking geese splashing in the water, I don’t freeze and try to determine if it is joy or distress.
The last example is not a flaw, but rather a desire to help if needed, but from where I sit, I need to work on the rest. Why do I interact differently with humans than I do with nature? I suppose it can be argued that nature won’t hurt me that way a human can, but that isn’t a solid argument. I have been stung by a bee, bitten by a spider, and pooped on by a bird above me, but that doesn’t make me distrust or stop loving those creatures. So why is my judgement on humans so harsh in comparison?
I will admit I don’t have the answers to the question, but I do have an understanding that human beings are creatures, created in the image of God, and deserve to be admired and loved without all the suspicion and judgement that comes so naturally.
I want to do better. I want to be better. I want to love better.
Who is with me?
1 John 4: 7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Colossians 3:14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.
Be blessed and abide in God’s Love!