I was in Ohio last weekend for a family celebration, and spent four days on the farm where my wife grew up. It is near Dayton, near the Little Miami River, a couple of hundred acres of rolling land, cultivated fields, fallow now in the winter, fields separated by woods. It was quiet, and each morning I got up around dawn and watched the birds at the feeder – various woodpeckers and finches, sparrows, titmice, nuthatches always going down the branches, a couple of cardinals and blue jays. I called it “bird TV” and it was soothing. I could watch the sun come up over the fields. It snowed the second day and so I could watch “snow TV” as well.
The rhythms of the world were more apparent on the farm. A neighbor came over to show us a baby mastodon tooth he had found in the field, and we showed him arrowheads and an ancient pestle. We took walks, sat in front of the fire, told stories of childhoods and listened to dreams for the future. Love abounded.
It matters to take notice of the blessings of our lives. I came to an understanding that belief is perhaps not all that important; whether you believe in God does not matter so much. A God needing to be believed in is not much of a God, after all. What matters most is how we live, and how we are grateful for the blessings we have, how we take care of what is entrusted to us. It is good that we are non-creedal and non-dogmatic, that we each find a way to express what is sacred, and, most importantly, how to see it in our lives and to express it in our actions.