I believe in the divine qualities of nature. I attended a Catholic elementary school and was taught that the only way to bring myself closer to God and become a better person was by reciting prayers and going to church. This teaching always left me wondering why I was not able to develop into a more holy person by experiencing God through his creation. I was never able to understand how kneeling next to my bed every night and just repeating something I did not fully understand many times would make me the perfect human being. This lack of knowledge prevented me from exploring my religion. This perception of religion changed at my uncle’s funeral while I was in fifth grade. In addition to the typical eulogy, the priest emphasized the point of how my uncle was able to fully experience God’s love through his interest in the outdoors and that allowed him to go to heaven after his death. As I got older, I thought a great way to try to understand my uncle better was to experience nature as he did. The instant that lead me to this belief in nature occurred on a vacation to Yellowstone. While driving up a mountain, my dad told me, “We are high enough to touch heaven up here.” Looking out over the side of the mountain, I realized that everything around me was so beautiful that some amazing power had to have been responsible. I was able to understand what the priest at my uncle’s funnel was trying to tell me when he gave his eulogy. The way to heaven was not in reciting prayers that I did not understand but it is experiencing God through everything he created. Heaven could be experienced through fishing on the Yellowstone River or by watching the woods behind my house. Some people think that the only way to heaven is by being with God through a rigid prayer regiment. While prayer is an important part of my life I believed that that the reward of heaven can be obtained through the holiness of nature.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.