A few years ago, I was on a ministry retreat. You would assume that since the nature of a retreat is to slow down and attending a retreat you would experience a time of refreshment. Well, in theory that is true. However, in order for that to happen you have to make yourself slow down.
In our culture, cell phones, laptops, iPads, and convenient Internet access make it very difficult to truly get away. Get away on vacation, on a retreat, for a day off, or just get away from work when you're at home in the evening. We live in a busy world and even though we try to take some time to get away from it all, if we are not resolute in our pursuit for a time of refreshment, we will come back just as tired as we were before we left.
I found myself at this retreat going to meetings, and making phone calls in between meetings, and texting between meetings, (and, yes, during meetings too) as if the world couldn't go on without my input. I found myself going to bed late only to have to get up early and rush out the door. Where my wife and I were staying was about a 5 to 10 minute drive to the retreat facility where all the meetings and meals were. Each time we drove to and from the retreat facility, we passed by a location where people were standing outside looking up at something. Some had cameras, and some had binoculars and all of them were looking up in the same direction. Each time we passed, we wondered what in the world they were looking at, but we were in too big of a hurry to bother stopping.
Finally, my curiosity got the best of me and I just had to stop and find out at what everyone was looking. What I saw was absolutely awesome. High up in a tree was a massive nest. The nest was home to a family of bald eagles, two adult eagles and two little ones. A gentleman was there taking some pictures and was kind enough to lend me his binoculars. My wife who was with me, along with our pastor's wife, just stood mesmerized by the majesty of these awesome creatures. Needless to say, we were quite late to our meeting.
I wonder how many people pass by that location everyday and see people standing out there, but never slow down long enough to check it out. Let's face it, it's not everyday you see bald eagles in the wild. I'm now over 40 and this was my first time to see bald eagles anywhere but a zoo. In order to catch something like this, you have to slow down. The same holds true with so much in life. We can get so busy with life that we miss so much. We can put so much into making a living that we forget to have a life.
Like catching a glimpse of those eagles that day, I've seen so much of God's awesome creation that has left me speechless. Sunsets, sunrises, snow-capped mountains, sea shores, and the colors of autumn. I've seen moose, humpback whales, hedgehogs, woodchucks, elk, stingrays, and sharks. Every breathtaking view screams there is a Creator and He's more awesome than we could ever imagine. Every last bit of this creation displays the glory of the One who created it all. And somehow, someway I think the lens that we view God through gets a little clearer every time we slow down for a moment to take it all in.