Getting away from the city, especially towards the beach, always refreshes. As I work in the Duin and Kruidberg castle near the central Dutch coast, I find myself energized by the fresh air, sense of quietness, and green all around me. The quality of each is excellent. I do not sense any pollution, hectic lifestyles, or corruption in the world immediately around me.
I know that part of this is a mirage. The gardens surrounding the old building are in great shape, guarded from prying eyes by tall pines, and center themselves on a lake. As one walks the lightly pebbled paths, you find a sense of peace quickly enveloping one's soul. The old exposed timbers inside, coupled with the wall covering oil paintings, and the wide and creaking wood staircases calms whatever might be tugging at your mind. The sense of history and the past sits heavily. I wonder what this house witnessed over the centuries.
Yet, I know that all is not as it might seem. No matter what the quality might seem, “the speech of a good person clears the air; the words of the wicked pollute.” (Proverbs 10.32) In spite of the wholesome ambience, the history of this house indicates that men and women often bring the world with them when they come. The grounds, house, and all that is within and without, will reflect who and what we are.
During the day, I find myself sneaking out to experience the stark contrast. While discussions carry on within, nature goes on about its' business. The ducks are making a home at the far end of the lake. There are birds nesting in a young tree near by. You can see tracks of an animal that cruised by during the night. The relentless yet soothing wind whispers yet another tale for one to interpret in one's own language.
Today, God is inviting you and I to rest in the Presence. We have the opportunity wherever we are to come apart and experience the joy of being totally accepted just as we are.