Next Tuesday our family will travel
to California for a reunion on my wife’s side of the family. We’ll spend
a week of that time in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on Donner Lake. I can’t wait. It was about 25 years ago on a drive back from Donner Lake where a deep religious experience led to my abiding concern for the environment
and a confidence in our Creator.
Having spent a long weekend in solitude at Donner Lake, God neglected to answer
my BIG QUESTIONS: Do you really exist? Should I believe? During my
walks in the wilderness and quiet times on the deck of the cabin, I got no
answer. I’m not sure what I expected but I left my silence and sitting in
disappointment. But as I drove back to Oakland where my wife and I were
living at the time, I looked to the left as the sun was setting and the
snow-capped mountains were ablaze with red and orange against a darkening
sky. Gerard Manley Hopkins and John’s Gospel came to mind: The world
is charged with the grandeur of God. The world is charged with God Incarnate.
All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human
race. (John 1:3-4). I know I smiled at that moment because it
felt like God was saying, “I heard you. How’s this answer?”
I hope you have or will take time to go on “retreat” this summer. Observe
nature in your backyard or on the beach or in the faces of those you love and
appreciate the interconnectedness of life, of the cosmos, of God Incarnate on
Earth and in Heaven. I hope you smile, too, when your moment of