Snails

snailI’m very much enjoying Trystan Hughes’ book, The Compassion Quest.  In the second chapter, he argues the case that everything is interconnected. Since very early on in Christianity, we have gone along with a sense of dualism between body and spirit which evolved from Greek thinking rather than from the Bible. Hughes, like others, contends that we are more connected to the spiritual than we think. Often we go through life relegating spirituality to inner thoughts or particular times and rituals of the week, whereas in fact God is more connected to us and we are more connected to the physical around us that we often realise.

As we recognise and truly appreciate the wholeness of the world around us it is as if… we are being kissed by the divine life-force. But to achieve this we need continually to liberate our spirits from the Cartesian way that has taught us to view the world in a mechanistic and sterile manner. Young children connect so easily with a sense of wonder and amazement, and rarely dismiss things as being banal, mundane or trivial.

This week I walked my son to nursery on a cloudy morning after overnight rain. Without a little chap in tow, I can do the walk in about five minutes. With him on his scooter, it is more like ten. But the rain had followed a couple of weeks of dry sunny weather and you could tell the ground, plants and bushes were just drinking it in. They weren’t the only ones. Turning a corner we passed an area of land covered thick in wild brambles and vegetation, and out of there was a slowly moving group of snails. My son was intrigued, so we bent down to look: varying sizes and colours, red, brown, grey and stone-yellow. We stopped and marvelled as I explained how they carried their houses on their backs. We picked a couple up and saw them retreat into their shells. We gently touched their antenna which recoiled away from us. “Very Well”, I thought, “that’s the nature and curiosity done for this walk!”. But as we proceeded further down the path we found many, many more snails. Of course, I was done looking at them but the boy wasn’t. He wanted to look at each one in detail, touch the shells, pick some of them up and analyse each one.

He was there, in the moment, whereas I was thinking about dropping him off and getting home to work. He was more connected than me at that moment, totally immersed in God’s creation.

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