Sitting on my third-floor apartment balcony is one of my favorite things. The other night I bundled up in a blanket, made some coffee, lit a candle, and moved a floor lamp next to my patio chair. I started reading a good book, but was often distracted by how perfect the evening felt. I reveled in God’s nature.
The sky was a hazy orange-gray as the sun set. There was a constant low rumbling of thunder in the distance, and flashes of lightning. A storm was moving in.
Looking down from my balcony, bunnies chased each other through the wrought iron fence surrounding the pool and across the sidewalk, their white tails bouncing. The ducks floated in little cliques in the pool until the light rain began, and they flew off to find a more sheltered area.
I was protected from the rain by the roof, so I stayed in my chair and took in all the senses. The smell of the rain, the shift of the wind, how the giant tree kept any rain from getting all the way to the sidewalk directly below, though it poured for a few minutes before the storm moved quickly on. How the big rain drops darken the edge of the concrete of my balcony, and little gusts of wind brought tiny drops inches closer to my chair. How my flower seeds had just begun to sprout, tiny and green above the dirt.
I was so content. Alone, but thanking God for a quiet evening, not even in intentional prayer requests or Bible reading, but just experiencing his goodness. I had no words, but knew I didn’t need them. God knows all. It’s a pretty amazing relationship.
That evening on my balcony in the rain felt so special because I felt God’s presence, but also because, I’ll admit, moments like that are kind of rare in my life. How often do I really sit still? No interruptions, no to-do lists, no expectations, no plans. No novels, and no Netflix or even thinking about what I could be watching on Netflix instead. Look around. What does God want you to slow down and notice?
There’s beauty in nature, our messy, half-furnished apartments, and in our incredibly blessed lives.
What is waiting just beyond our own bubble or self-created world that is even better than any interior decorator could design? Better than any entertaining distraction?
How can we shift our focus to the Creator of all the things and people who matter most? For me, it helps to be in nature or out of my apartment so I can’t look around and see all the things I want to change about my place or make plans for all the things I want to buy. It helps me step away. Pivot to what’s really important.
Maybe we just need some bug spray and a camping chair to get us started.