God Is Invisible But Holiness Can Be Seen

Meditations in Motion

The hubs and I were on a mission yesterday. We wanted to find spring.

There is a stream just north of our house where we often meet a friend for trail running adventures.

We drove up the gravel road next to the stream, parked, and listened. Sure enough, before too long, we heard the sound of wood frogs chirping and saw them splashing in nearby vernal pools.

Skunk cabbage was up, its vibrant red leaves slowly unfurling in the warm spring sunshine.

Mission accomplished.

We found the beginning of spring in this delightful location.

As we drove back to the paved road, however, a disturbing sight met our eyes. Someone had dumped several old tube-style television sets by the side of the road. Their plastic cases spilled down the stream bank.

Meditations in MotionFurther along, more discarded televisions and tires sprawled in the parking lot.

The sight made me think of this quote by Wendell Berry: “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.

Someone had desecrated this sacred place.

Here is the thing about the sacred: it can be seen.

There is a story in the Bible where Moses asks to see God’s glory. God responded, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.

God placed Moses in a cleft of rock and put His hand over Moses’ eyes, then removed it as He passed by, so that Moses got just a glimpse of His back parts.

Just a glimpse, then it was all over.

God cannot be seen.

But holiness can be seen.

Holiness is all around us.

Meditations in MotionHoliness is in the sunrise and the clouds. It’s in the butterflies that hide in crevices in tree bark during cold winter days, then emerge to flit about in the thin sunshine of early spring.

The clear water cascading over rocks in a stream, throwing off light in all directions, always moving, always new, never-ending is proof that the sacred exists in our world.

Holiness is in the scent of pine needles when they crunch underfoot. It’s in the plush carpet-soft  feeling you notice when you walk on them.

It’s in the turkey vultures floating lazily overhead, tilting their wings this way and that, seeming to wobble in their attempts to stay aloft.

Holiness is in the haunting song the male veery (a kind of wood thrush) sings when he is looking for his mate.

I witnessed holiness in the wood frogs’ chirps and in the variegated leaves of the skunk cabbage.

It is there for us to appreciate.

Or to desecrate.

Our choice.


Meditations in Motion

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  1. Absolutely breaks my heart. What is wrong with people? I had an absolute duck fit when someone rolled down their car window and dumped out a fast food cup and bag. I hate to think what I would do or what someone would do to me if I witnessed the dumping of this kind of trash in this holy space. What a horrible shame. But thank you for your insight, for sharing the beauty of this space.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Much of your post reads almost like a poem, Laurie. Indeed, our human talent for desecration likes in direct proportion to our unconsciousness, or, more plainly, our lack of attention to what matters. We’re surrounded by the miraculous, but we need someplace to toss our old TVs and plastic bags. Sigh. As you say, our choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If my post reads like a poem, it must be due to all of the Mary Oliver poems I have been reading lately. Yep. Our choice. We must take responsibility for our actions. We can’t just walk away.


  3. …until we find ways for people to dispose of things we will continue to see the trash that you found. I had an old TV that I want to get rid of and it was going to cost me $100, some folks can’t afford that. For me life is about thinking outside the box and finding solutions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is sad, it’s happening too many times in too many places around the world including here in Australia!
    Time to wake up world! Creation is not a rubbish dump for mean made items! Everything can be recycled or upcycled!

    Yes, His Holiness is evident in creation, what joy & beauty we behold!
    Bless you Laurie,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this post, Laurie!
    Last Friday we were on a 6-hour hike with friends in a mountainous region in South Africa. It was scorching hot. We didn’t have enough water with us. The thirst was nearly unbearable and became worse by the minute. After 5 hours, we heard, and then discovered, a stream bubbling forth in a group of trees nearby. This place felt like heaven. The cool, fresh water was the best thing I ever drank.
    As we rested in the shade, we expressed our appreciation and gratitude for this sacred place.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That is so sad. Last year, they arrested a guy in Hartford that was charging people to clean their property or dispose of unwanted items. He took their money, and their stuff, but he dumped their stuff in an industrial area of the city. Every year, groups around here organize “river walk cleanups” and every year, I wonder why we still need these events. I’m glad that we have them. I’m glad the areas get cleaned, but I still wonder why.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The holy and sacred is everywhere around us when we take the time to look, Laurie. Oh, how sad it makes me that some people care so little about God’s creation that they willfully pollute it. May they wake up and see the error of their ways.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I agree, Martha. Holiness is all around us if we just take the time to look for it! I hope the people who threw the trash out along the road think better of their actions but I am not holding my breath! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That first photo of the televisions was so jarring…and then, the last one, not jarring but disappointing. And I’m afraid a third one would be “Oh, yup—there’s more…” and a sigh….And that’s how fast we become conditioned to it. Let’s help each other not become conditioned.
    On a different note—I might have missed something….is Morocco still happening?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually did have more photos of discarded trash. It is so sad!

      No, Morocco is not happening. We waited until the travel ban, hoping we could go, then rescheduled for September.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So beautifully written it makes my heart ache and sing at the same time. The people who dump are probably the same ones stealing all the hand sanitizer bottles from my doctor’s waiting room and hoarding essential supplies, emptying store shelves everywhere they go leaving nothing for their neighbors.

    I needed this post today! Thank you. It’s my assignment to concentrate on the sacred today. God knows we could all use it!

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t know why people feel they have the right to litter in public places, in a natural setting or otherwise. In Council Point Park, people have thrown large items into the Creek where they stay unless they have folks who volunteer to collect the garbage in the Creek by floating in a canoe and grabbing it … sadly, that does not happen often. The other day I saw a pink backpack sticking out of the ice – partly frozen and partly immersed in the water. I’m glad you found your taste of Spring Laurie – I’ve never seen skunk cabbage. We’re not that far along yet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was so frustrating and infuriating to see all that trash in a beautiful place. Our waste management accepts old TVs for free! There is a purple boot in the photo with the tires. I don’t know if you can see that or not. Skunk cabbage is pretty but it gets its name honestly. It does smell like a skunk when it gets crushed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I see it now – I don’t know what possesses people, I really don’t. And who in the world had that many TVs unless they were a repair shop and no one came to pick up the old TVs so they offloaded them there?

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are right – I never thought about that. Who has that many TVs? Actually, we had a bunch of old TVs of our own plus my mom’s old TVs that we had to get rid of. There is still one in our basement that was too heavy for Bill and me to carry. We will have to hire someone to get it out of there.

        Liked by 1 person

    • You stay germ-free too, Jeff! Our upcoming marathon in Asheville, NC was canceled and so was a 10-mile trail race in PA. The trail race is in May!


      • Wow. That’s some forward planning. We’re still trying to figure out what to do about work on Monday. I’m glad the mountain biking season doesn’t start until July.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. So sad to see how people have treated such a special place, Laurie. I do love being outdoors and seeing the handiwork of God on display. It’s the perfect setting to worship and it’s something I don’t do often enough! Thanks for this reminder, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Laurie, I love the beautiful word pictures you painted that resonate of God’s holiness being seen. It’s true. When we look for His holiness, we can find it if we take time to see, to be still, to listen. I’m so sorry some desecrated that beautiful place. I guess along with the holy, we can also find evidences of humanity’s fallibility. Thanks for the reminder that, really, it’s my choice to look for His holiness or not…among other things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jeanne. We can find holiness everywhere and we (I) do need to practice being still. Seeing our humanity in the desecration of holy spaces is so true. I never thought if it that way. Thanks for opening my eyes.


  13. Holy…this is a word the Holy Spirit keeps bringing to my attention in my prayer time. Thank you for sharing as this gave me a new perspective about the word Holy that I can tune into the Holy things around me!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s so hard to understand why some people don’t understand this. But we can just keep on doing what you’ve done here and praise the beauty of creation, clean up what we can, and look for the little bits of sacred within the desecrated.

    Liked by 1 person

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