Peach Popsicles

Driving back from a recent kayaking trip with my family, I couldn’t keep my mind off of the 20 or 30 pictures i had taken of the water we had traversed the previous weekend. When I got home, I kept flicking back to them, looking at each one carefully and letting my mind wander back to what was, in my head at least, the most carefree few hours I’ve had in a long time.  I have grown increasingly fond of these little things – trips with family, interesting leaves observed while taking puppy potty breaks, reading through hymns.

What’s really been haunting me, though, is that I cannot get away from the thought that I don’t deserve any of these overwhelming moments of joy and bewilderment in creation.  From a modern cultural standpoint, I’ve been to school and gotten a good job – so I “deserve”, what? Money? Stability? Where in there is it guaranteed that “If Ryan goes to college and studies hard he can fully enjoy the beauty and complexity of the flowers in his backyard”? Who’s to say I won’t wake up tomorrow and lose all interest in art, nature or food? Why is it that weeks after leaving home and my friends for a new city, I break down while singing “The Church’s One Foundation” in a room full of strangers? What is it that I’ve done to warrant the appreciation for hymns, for trees or for good food?

Nothing. And that’s so, so beautiful. The sins I would scarce whisper in an empty room have defiled and continually shone light on my natural state. And yet, not only do I receive the incredible gift of the gospel, I get to daily receive and be reminded of the Kings glory through the beauty of nature, of friendships, of 200 year old hymns, of family and even of new dogs.

This morning, my wife and I went to the local farmers market. It was very relaxing to walk around, but it started to get hot pretty quickly. Reaching the end of one of the tents, we saw a sign for cold popsicles, made with locally grown fruit. They were, to put it mildly, incredible. Peach with a hint of mint, the perfect refresher as we walked through the crowd of shoppers. It hit me again – what an awesome thing that I get to enjoy. Not a necessity, and I will be absolutely fine without it. But here it is. So simple, but so enjoyable.

I think all of these things (and almost all aspects of our culture) scream that there’s got to be something better. There just has to be. Somehow, in all the times I’ve looked back at those pictures of the kayaking trip, I have completely blocked out the 2 times I slipped and fell on rocks, the sunburn I dealt with for a week after the trip and the typical “It’s over already?” feeling I got when I saw the exit shore. The popsicle was awesome – and messy, and it only lasted for about 2 minutes. The flowers I have been photographing are already dead, and the beautiful mountain picture I took came at the end of a 2 hour mosquito filled, 1,500 foot hike.

One day the flowers will not die. The food will fulfill us. The music and dancing will not embarrass or distract us. The praise will abound from us, and the King will reign over us.

 

“Though with a scornful wonder, men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping, their cry goes up, ‘How long?’
And soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song!”