Last week while visiting friends in Colorado, I had the chance to do one of my favorite things: snow ski. That may seem odd for a Florida native, but over the last few years, my love of the sport has steadily grown. But I think it has more to do with the scenery than the skiing. Along with an increased love of the activity itself, I’ve learned more about my “happy place”: typically somewhere involving few people and mountains.
It definitely wasn’t always like this for me. I grew up with a strong aversion to most activities related to the outdoors or nature. I blame several things for this, including an early inability to succeed at team sports and an ill-fated camping trip during spring break in third grade, completely with chicken pox and a pack of over-zealous raccoons. Perhaps those early experiences turned me off from fully appreciating God’s creation, but now I often feel like I have to make up for lost time.
My definition of a “happy place” is: somewhere that’s hasn’t become routine that broadens your perspective of the world around you and gives you the awareness of being small. If you’re a believer, perhaps it’s the spot where you feel closest to God and appreciate his creativity. Maybe it’s the mountains, or the beach. Perhaps it’s not outdoors at all, but human-created artwork or expressions of technological or physical ingenuity.
One of the best parts of exploring over the past few years is recognizing how close I feel to God while taking in the nature and beauty of his creation. Nature may not elicit such a response for everyone, and that’s OK. What’s not OK is not knowing what this “happy place” is specifically for you. Because if you never get to that point of being reminded about the bigness of this earth that we inhabit, perhaps you’re not fully living.
It took me a while to figure this out. It took a while to try things like hiking Yosemite National Park to recognize what places like this do for my soul. My friend and I took a few days to hike and explore and take in a place that truly felt like it was created for giants. It’s a place that makes me recognize how small I really am and how much God loves us to give us experiences like this. It’s a place that reminds me of the quote from St. Augustine: “If these are the beauties afforded to sinful men, what must God have in store for those who love him?”
Again–this place won’t be the same for everyone. But at least pursue the discovery of what that place or thing is for you. It’s so easy to continue with our busy, cluttered lives and never take the time to adjust our perspective beyond our desk and task list. But push through. Force yourself away from the daily mundane and into a spot or an activity that captivates your attention. And do it sooner than later.
What about you? What’s your “happy place”? Where do you go to re-align things and appreciate the beauty that God has afforded us? Or are you still searching for what this place or thing might be?