Happy Earth Day!

*Spoiler Alert* I am a nerd. This is a fact that actually surprises a lot of people, I think partly because Conner has made my wardrobe significantly cooler and more outdoorsy.

I know I am a nerd because I retain a significant amount of skills and knowledge that make me a nerd. For instance, did you know I know all the rules to Magic the Gathering. The fact that I know what that is also makes me a nerd but knowing the rules just tips it over the top. I also know off the top of my head which X-Wing Luke Skywalker flies in the first Death Star battle over Yavin 4. The fact that I didn’t have to look up any of the facts in the last statement also prove my nerdom.

I am still waiting for the day for this nerd-knowledge to come in handy. Sometimes I day dream of aliens attacking Earth and only if someone can rattle off the rules to Battle Star Galactical the board game will they stop. Then out of nowhere I appear and start the explanation.

Why am I admitting to being a nerd? Well because for a significant period of my life I didn’t explore the “real world” as much as I should have. I tried my damnedest to spend as much time as I possibly could have invested in one of my nerdy activities. Whether it was playing Star Wars cards, watching Lord of the Rings on repeat or simply playing Everquest, I spent a majority of my young adult life invested in nerdy activities.

Don’t get me wrong I also played football in high school and my dad took us kids hiking every fall for the hiking spree but typically when I had free time I would try my hardest to spend it invested in one of my nerdy activities.

I spent a lot of time throughout my life playing video games and watching movies. In Seminary I spent the majority of my free time playing video games, board games and Magic cards. Sometimes I would go months without spending any time outside other than walking to class. Chicago was home to hundreds of parks and a beautiful beach but for the first 4 years I lived there I had never gone to the beach.

That all changed when Conner and I started dating. She is not a nerd. She does not care which member of Red Squadron Luke was and she has no desire to know. She also doesn’t know or will ever care to know the rules to Magic. So, when we started dating she wanted to do the things she loved doing like hiking, biking, swimming, playing frisbee and just generally being outside.

The first year we dated we rode our bikes to the beach multiple times and would often drive hours out of the city to go for hikes in the state parks. On hot sunny days we would just sit out in the green space and talk. It was so refreshing to go from cooped up indoors to freely exploring God’s great masterpiece.

Hear me say this definitively. There is nothing wrong with nerdy activities. I made some of the best friends of my life playing those board games and nerdy games. We would talk about what we were going through over a game and bond over shared interests. Those friends helped me get through one of the loneliest periods of my life.

However! I never realized how much beauty I was missing until Conner took me to Zion. I didn’t realize how much peace there was in God’s creation until I spent a night under the stars in Bryce Canyon. I didn’t realize how magnificent the ocean was until I stood at the top of the Precipice Trail in Acadia and looked out into the vast Atlantic Ocean for miles and miles and miles. There is vast beauty in God’s creation.

I think the thing I have learned the most since learning to explore is that God speaks to us through his Creation. God made this wonderful magnificent playground for us to explore and he did it out of Love. His wonderous creation speaks a story of love to us. There is love in the way the ocean breeze gives relief from the heat. There is love in the way the warmth of the sun feels during a spring day. There is love in the view from Angles landing into the canyon below. God’s creation is a testament of His love.

I feel like its important for me to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with indoor activities. Truthfully, I still have at least 4 hours of Far Cry 5 left to beat and there isn’t anything that’s going to stop me from that. I also will continue to read each Walking Dead graphic novel that comes out even if it’s a beautiful day out. So please don’t hear me say that you need to sell your TV and buy a 50-liter backpack.

I am simply advocating that a life spent apart from God’s creation is unnatural. It goes against what was ever intended. We as a society spend a majority of our time plugged in to technology and plopped in our air-conditioned offices away from the outside. Yet God intended us to spend a majority of our time out there, in his presence and in his creation!

This Earth Day I am going to make a resolution. I know that’s a New Years thing but too bad. I resolve this summer to hike twice a week and to not complain when Conner picks the hardest trails instead of the easy ones.

Join me and get outside this summer!

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