The Art of Letting Go

I’m composing this post in a different fashion today. I’m writing in a small journal as I sit near a backcountry shelter on the Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Mountian National Park. Five miles from the nearest road, tens of miles from the closest town, entirely surrounded by the wonders of God’s creation. Very little noise disturbs me. I can hear birds flitting from branch to branch sending out alarms of my presence in their woods. Clouds are rolling in giving these mountains their “smoky” namesake. The scent of hemlock, fir, and spruce trees is faintly sensed on the breeze. I’ve “let go” and it feels absolutely perfect!

View from Chimney Tops (Great Smoky Moutnians National Park)
View from Chimney Tops (Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

We have lost the art of letting go. Work, chores, commitments, possessions. They all get in the way of truly enjoying this life God has given us. At times, we wonder why we don’t experience God like we should. Could it be that our schedules are so full that there’s no time to enjoy Him or all of the other simple little things that surround us every day?

Sunrise from Icewater Springs Shelter on the Appalachian Trail
Sunrise from Icewater Springs Shelter on the Appalachian Trail

Young children still know how to appreciate the things around them. Watch when a child discovers something new. Their wonder and amazement over something as simple and beautiful as a flower is a joy to witness. And then their parents book them in every activity available and teach them what it means to be busy. And suddenly the art of letting go has been destroyed.

Grotto Falls (Great Smoky Moutnains National Park)
Grotto Falls (Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

Peace and the presence of God can be found all around us. There is no written rule directing us to stay busy 24 hours a day. It’s that busyness that produces most of our stress and anxiety anyway. No!  Do as Thoreau did when he went to live in the Massachusetts woods. “I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

-Joe

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