Wednesday, June 3, 2009

People Spoil Peace

It was a great way to spend a summer afternoon, and from the looks of the campgrounds and picnic tables, others had the same idea to find a little slice of peace. We packed a cooler and a blanket and headed to Cades Cove, one of the most scenic and visited drives in the Smoky Mountain National Park. Not long after entering the one way loop and passing some wild turkeys, we were rewarded with sighting a bear not far from the road. Imagine our excitement when we rounded a few more turns and came upon a mother and two cubs, foraging in the shady grass on the field's edge. Our wildlife loving family was ecstatic, and we snapped more of our famous "really this is a bear" Sanders family photos. We began our tally for the night. Clear blue sky, green fields full of daisies, air scented with honeysuckle, dose of Claritin, slight breeze, ... Norman Rockwell would've been drooling. (Look in the left corner of the picture ... see the bear?)

Around dinnertime we stopped at a hill overlooking the Cove. We snacked on leftover marinated grilled chicken (from last week's blog), homemade crusty french bread with olive oil, sweet cucumbers, and a small bowl of baked beans that stirred up a lot of arguing. We saved the sugar cookies and thermos of coffee for the final leg of the ride and headed to our standard spot for a walk beside the stream. The family likes to tromp through the water, look for critters, and walk the trail covered by so many ferns it's like wading through lime green lace.

This shady path would be the picture of "PEACE", if it were not for the fact that people go there! I don't mean to complain here, but as we began to look for critters native to the Cove, I noticed that there were at least 5 sites (I counted) next to trees where the "non-native Quilted Northern" had visited. That's sort of like the southern tree frog, but it's little clumps of white tp - evidence of visitors who "couldn't hold it."

Now, I'm a girl who enjoys the outdoors; I can dig a hole or make a "night run from the tent" like I work for the Discovery Channel, but these poorly placed (there is an art, folks) and plentiful clumps really started to spoil the peace of the pathway ... especially because I know there's a restroom facility not even a half mile AFTER this pathway where so many find relief. :/If they only knew ...

I think a lot of us look for peace in "places" during the summer, but wherever people are, we take our human nature (and our "tiny tanks") with us. There's a real danger in having romantic ideas and expectations of "places of peace." I am so guilty here. This very same spot is the path where our family was once chased by angry bees = not peaceful. This very same path was the scene where I kicked over the cooking dinner while rain began to pour as I tried to scoop up couscous minus gravel ... couscous looks a lot like grave = not peaceful. I have learned the hard way that peace is not a place. I will revisit this later this week, as I have learned this lesson over and over.

The truth is that people spoil peace. Those beautiful black bears, even the one nursing her cub? Being watched by a fleet of rangers keeping the WILD PEOPLE from getting too close, from harassing the bear with shouts and cameras, trying to get her to look at them. :) Think about that. Really. Our human nature just can't help but spoil things.

Paul said that even the creation has been spoiled, and someday, "the creation itself also be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty," Romans 8:21. He shared his own frustration that he did the very things in his flesh that he didn't want to do in his spirit. We are so "unpeaceful" in our nature that we spoil those "Norman Rockwell" moments, those picture perfect pathways of peace, that perfect creation. We litter it with our sin.

So did we manage to find rest and relaxation and joy in the habitat of the tiny "Quilted Northern?" We did. The beauty of God's world, even in its present state, is a glimpse of a beautiful place, of what we look forward to .... perfect peace!!!!!! Just think, even now, Jesus is preparing a place for us to come and enjoy TRUE Peace. Yay!

2 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Courtney said...

So true. Great post.

Kristi said...

I often think of how gorgeous God's creation is, even while tainted by our sin and groaning under the curse - there are so many things that make me thrill with anticipation - What will heaven be like??!! We cannot even begin to fathom.

It's always fun to read your family adventures! You are the outdoorsy family that we would be if we weren't the babies of our families and did something more often. :)