I have found beauty in all the place I have ever lived.
When I was young, we lived in a beautiful home with a big yard and a creek flowing behind us. I think back with rose-colored glasses, because I have nothing to make me believe otherwise. I was only seven when we left it, but every memory I have of it turns it into a magical mansion. Of course, it was not a mansion at all, but a small-medium home that was pretty average. Yet I do not remember that. I remember the azaleas that grew behind us and the little baby bunny we found hiding deep within the bushes. I remember playing upstairs in my room and running down the stairs when I heard the introduction to my favorite show, Rugrats, come on. I remember playing Barbies and Little People for hours upon hours and never tiring of it. I remember making cookies with my Mom when I was too young to start school just yet. I remember the joyful Christmas morning when I came down to see a brand new bike underneath our very large tree. I remember riding my bike down the road and being able to turn around for the first time and my family cheering for me as I rode back. My heart beams when I think about the days living with my wonderful, crazy family.
While I can say that I have always had my basic needs and never had to worry where I would lay my head at night, the beauty around me hasn’t always been so apparent to the those just passing by. I have been warned many times about the dangers that surround me in our world. People waiting around every corner to snatch me up, rob me, or con me into following them to danger.
I don’t undermine these warnings, these tragedies are realities for many innocent people.
Yet, I have seen so many people allow the evil of the world to define their state of being. If the evil clouds our vision of the beauty around us- hasn’t it won? I refuse to let evil scare me into a paranoid state of mind. I refuse to let the evil steal my vision and sensitivity to the goodness and the beauty all around me.
For most of my life I have been fond of taking walks around my neighborhood. Sometimes listening to music and sometimes simply listening in to the sounds around me. More times that I can count I have been told, “it is not safe for a young girl to go walking alone.” Yet, this is one of the things I just have to ignore. I need time where I can be alone to allow me to think or to not think and just clear my mind.
I have been told many things about my neighborhood, mostly negative things that should scare me. Yet, I love my neighborhood. When I walk around I see people living and moving through the day. I see families working together as unit, friends sitting on the porch together laughing and talking, dogs sleeping quietly in the sun, and teens and kids playing together in their yards. I see plenty of natural beauty too. There are so many trees- leaves are abundant in almost every yard this time of year. I can see the years the neighborhood has lived through by the sidewalk cracks and overgrowth on each corner.
These walks help me to connect to God, because they remind me that I am part of something much bigger than myself. God’s plan and His design includes all the earth- even the parts that do not seem so “holy”. His spirit is everywhere, in the homes of the people who live beside me, in the food bank that feeds many of the neighborhood dwellers, and in the roots of the trees that have grown far into the sky.
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20