In The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis writes that, in heaven, the grass itself seems to be alive. The “ghosts” (those just up from hell) can’t step on the grass without hurting their feet, while the “solid people” who’ve been in heaven for a while, can walk on the grass without any difficulty. The beauty, glory and light of heaven is such a contrast to the gloomy, dreary, gray world of hell. The very trees, flowers, grass– indeed the waterfall itself– seem to be alive in heaven.
Lewis’ imagery of nature in heaven was a provoking, new thought when I first read it a few years ago.
Since then, nature looks different to me. It has always been beautiful to gaze upon; it is a small glimpse of heaven, the eternal. Now, though, it seems alive in a very different sense; I can see creation’s praises and yearnings for its Creator. And yet– it is not quite alive, as it would be in Heaven, as Lewis describes.
My soul feels dry and withered during the long winter months of whites, grays and browns. While snow has a pristine beauty of its own, the snow-covered landscape doesn’t beckon me outdoors to bask and linger. I may go outdoors, but I come indoors very soon, because of numb fingers and toes. A cold, wintery white day doesn’t invite me. On the other hand, I am invited to enjoy its beauty from the outside, i.e., from the indoors– looking out. I can’t really be part of it. And– the truth be told– I really don’t want to be. It’s just — too cold!
Life in an igloo. That’s what it sometimes feels like around here! 🙂 Winter… thus far, drains me. The beauty of winter is stiff, cold and aloof. It stings. It hurts. I can only take so much before I am searching for warmth– like a fireplace and a hot cup of cocoa.
But, a spring day that is bursting forth with life, with velvety green grass and sprinkled with dots of color, does invite me, beckon me, compel me. I am not only invited for a visit, but also requested to stay and linger… and to revel in the beauty. I can stay long enough to become part of the celebration. I can stay long enough to see the trees clapping their hands, to hear the stones cry out, to watch the flowers dance in their robes.
I’ve been wondering for years now, and am utterly convinced, that God’s original intention was not to have snow. Or ice. Or harsh brutal cold winds. If it were, why were Adam and Eve unclothed? Why was there a lush garden to take care of? Remember, it hadn’t even rained until God sealed the ark shut in Noah’s day. Who ever thought of snow??
But, the message of spring is hope and promises kept. God’s promises. And, as I see trees that have let go of all their protection, their beautiful falling colorful leaves, to receive the snow, I am reminded that God asks the same of us. He asks us to let go, and let the seasons come in our lives. After the snow, there is new life. And isn’t it true, as we endure trials and hardships, that we find we have grown? Maybe winter was a part of his plan, after all. Nah, then again, maybe not. 🙂
Dear Lord, thank you for the beauty of your creation, and the ceaseless lessons we learn from your creation.