I heard a sermon last week in which the preacher was talking about her experience on her family vacation in the Catskill mountains. She mentioned this moment where she hiked alone to the nearby waterfall one morning, sat peacefully beside the stream, and dove into the clear mountain water. Immersed in the frigid water she felt renewed and refreshed. She said it was a ‘spiritual moment’ for her. One in which she felt complete, and spiritually whole. She went on to describe what she did next. She carefully collected small rocks-shiny and colorful, smooth and marbled, and placed them in a bag. She was trying to gather mementos of this spiritual moment. Mementos that she could place about her home, on her nightstand, her bathroom sink. Things that could tangibly bring her back to that place of peace and wholeness, once her hectic life started to crack through her being.
The preacher then began to warn of the foolishness of this kind of living. She said she felt like the rich young ruler who was storing up his earthly treasures. She told us to be complete people, we need to live beyond those spiritual moments, tuning in to our real feelings and emotions and embracing them when things are hard. We need to be careful not to idolize good times, and not to limit God to our description of what a ‘spiritual moment’ is.
Although I liked the point she was trying to make about not limiting God to our own version of spiritual moments, I felt hesitant to embrace the idea that we can’t rely on great moments of peace and restoration to help us through. The past few weeks that’s what I’ve been doing. Trying to suck the life out of this beloved place I call home. Grabbing up moments and taking pictures as mementos before our trek back down south.
Like gathering green beans with my Grandpa in his garden and canning them back in the kitchen with Grandma.
Enjoying a late night piece of pie with good neighbors.
Running through the beloved woods across the street.
Cooking and laughing together in the home of good friends.
Taking my sister out on a Friday night date.
Trekking up to the sheep barn and letting a baby lamb nuzzle up to my knee.
Spending the morning exploring the landscape with a beautiful child.
These pictures are my mementos. Beautiful memories I can rifle through weeks from now.
And my freezer and cupboards will be filled with mementos of the richness and goodness of my home that I can eat in the lonely winter months.
These are my spiritual moments.
The moments that get me through.
And if my efforts to grasp onto these people and this place is in vain, then that preacher can call me a fool.