Growing up, I wasn’t the “outdoorsy” type. I opted instead for a book on the couch (I know…. I didn’t even read outside) or, when forced into manual labor, I took on kitchen and cleaning duties. I once let my sister seal the driveway while I made spaghetti. I brought them out some lemonade.
Even when exposed to majestic surroundings, it translated to commonplace for me. Huge mountains to see 7 states? Yeah. Okay. Waters so clear you can see hundreds of feet below? Well, that is better than pond water. And the gorgeous and colorful fish that inhabit it? Barely worth a comment. After a little bit of snorkeling I’m ready to get back on the boat and read my book.
Boats and books. That’s my forte. We spent several summer vacations on Lake Cumberland and my 2nd Family would tease that “there’s Shell, at the front of the boat with her nose in a book.” I rarely skied (I found it quite boring back there, but that’s related to my lack of adventurous spirit to go outside of the wake and risk busting my butt). At times I was covered head-to-toe with towels and hats to prevent worsening a burn. In short, the outdoors and I took combative positions.
Not much has changed. My husband begs me to join him outside on the porch in the evenings while I prefer my cozy chair and a good blog.
A friend just remarked about her trip to Gatlinburg and the huge amount of commercialism there; her words: It’s like a carnival threw up all over the natural beautiful landscape.
While I lament the fact we’re teaching our kids to be entertained rather than enjoy the beauty of the natural world, I have to admit my own contribution to the situation. I’m an armchair everything – when it comes to sports, life, parenting, theology…. I’d rather sit and contemplate than get up and participate. My preference seems to lie in figuring out the best way to do things and then telling others how to go about it (hellllloooooo management?).
I would rather read a good story, or think about writing a good story, than live a good story. Or so it seems. I’m allowing the rest of the world to entertain me instead of becoming an interesting character in my own. The most interesting thing I can add to conversation is, “I recently read….”
While I stand behind the value of being well-read, it’s time for me to also become well-lived. I need to allow my surroundings to become as inspiring as the characters or concepts I find on the page. The storm rolling in could speak messages as strongly as the 5-point blog post if I listen. Or perhaps even hearing from my kids and they way in which they experience the world, instead of learning how to help them best interpret it, may feed my soul.