There’s a phrase in the Bible that describes our situation here on Earth.
It says that we’re to consider ourselves “In the world…but not of the world”.
I wrestled with that thought for years…wondering how do I transcend daily life, how do I draw so close to God that, even though I’m stuck on this earthly plane, I’m close enough to Him that I’m not really of the world?
Maybe I thought it was like getting a leg a little farther over the fence or something…impossible not to straddle a little, but my efforts would be enough to “get over“.
I pondered this thought hard. I wondered why something so difficult would be required or requested.
Later, I came to the conclusion that what it probably means is that we’re here right now ….but that ultimately this world isn’t our home.
“Here” wasn’t something to transcend. “Here” was a gift to be used like it mattered. It wasn’t something to be feared or regretted. We are “in the world”…we are here right now…but in the end, we’re designed for better things. We are not, in the end, of this world.
No one ever told me that when I was wrestling with my misunderstanding of the phrase “in the world…but not of the world”.
In keeping with that thought, driving around or running or doing any of the things I do outside, I notice people outside listening to what used to be Walkmen…but now, unless they’re real throwbacks or unable to afford something new, are probably MP3 players.
It’s like they understood the phrase to be “in the world, not in the world“.
Not even in the world. It’s like they’ve got something to transcend every day… and they don’t even know it.
“YO, Man…gotta have my jams!!!”
It seems like getting out into the natural world is our shot to hear the wind, hear the little new frogs we call peepers around here, see the grass move in the breeze, hear the crunch of our footfalls on the gravel or pavement or dirt trail.
It is our chance to be in the world.
To be fully immersed in the world. To be covered up with “world”…right here, right now….a good animal able to experience everything the world has to show us.
But instead, we stick something in our ears that lets us “do something practical” with our time outside.
“Let’s not waste a moment….while I’m exercising outside I can listen to Britney Spears and really get something out of the experience.”
I’ve done it…listened to music while I exercised. I’ve been a gym member…paid my dues to come someplace inside to lift weights while I listened to really loud music.
I’ve done that.
I’ve even run with what at the time was a Walkman.
That was kind of goofy.
I’ve started wondering if that is the wrong way to approach things, though.
I think that when we’re outside, we need to be outside. Not somewhere inside our heads, not somewhere else….listening to music is great, but Nature doesn’t need another soundtrack.
The soundtrack it provides should be enough.
And that, my friends, is the beginning of the true definition of “opinionated curmudgeon”.