A lot of people who have known me for a while know how much I love John Burroughs since I learned of him almost 20 years ago. In this weird time right now of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we are more limited to walks in our own yards and neighborhoods, I’m reminded of this quote, one of my favorites.
“The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is ‘look under foot.’ You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars. Every place is the centre of the world.” (John Burroughs)
I don’t think of God as being found in only the “good” part of humans or that “God is love” or that we only see God when we see the goodness in the depths of another person. Realizing that this may be an unpopular idea (and it took me a lot of years to come to that conclusion myself) and that everyone has their own idea of what God is, for me, if God is Nature, everything, ever present, which is how I define my own version of pantheism, then it’s not all always or only just about the good parts, the light, but also the darkness. I’m recently reminded of this part of the John Burroughs quote shared on the Universal Pantheist Society Facebook page (although I should point out the UPS welcomes different flavors of pantheism; this is just my personal take).
“When we call the power back of all God, it smells of creeds and systems, of superstition, intolerance, persecution; but when we call it Nature, it smells of spring and summer, of green fields and blooming groves, of birds and flowers and sky and stars. I admit that it smells of tornadoes and earthquakes, of disease and death too, but these things make it all the more real to us to conceive of God in terms of universal Nature…” (John Burroughs, “Accepting the Universe”).
Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday.
“Every walk to the woods is a religious rite, every bath in the stream is a saving ordinance. Communion service is at all hours, and the bread and wine are from the heart and marrow of Mother Earth.”
I’m remembering Sunday mornings as a little girl and a teenager. Everyone hurrying and scurrying to get ready for Sunday School and church, dressing in our nicest clothes. Last-minute ironing. The smells of coffee and bacon, homemade grape jelly, shoe polish, and my dad’s cologne wafting through the house. That little brown leather shoeshine kit was a familiar Sunday morning accessory in my house. Yellow egg and purple jelly stains on the Sunday comics.
Then along the way, things changed….my ideas about Sundays and God and worship. Mr. Burroughs said it eloquently.
This morning, I’m being lazy. It’s gray and cloudy outside my window. Rain’s on the way, then cold air, maybe even a little snow. I want to snuggle in the covers longer, but work awaits, coffee needs made, and kitties are starting to demand to be fed. Their patience is running out and they’re getting cranky with each other.
Have a lovely and peaceful Sunday wherever you are.