We were running, running as fast as we could to the unknown. Never in my life had I seen anything like it. Never in my life had I been running so fast to see it. A long way in the distance was a glimmering, moving, seemingly monstrous thing that was uncontrollable and ridiculously enticing. It was the North Pacific Ocean that my siblings and I were running to. We could see it from our family van in the parking lot, and the only thing in the way of touching the wild unknown was a large expanse of dry sand which we couldn’t resist the urge to run across.

After what seemed like the longest run in my life I reached the edge of the water. I slowed down and very meticulously placed my foot in the cold, foamy water. At that moment I gasped not at the fact that it was cold, but at the idea that as my foot was touching the ocean, the ocean was touching the world. With my one foot in the water I was joyfully overwhelmed at how big the world felt, and how little I felt. I was just this small little being that was able to behold something so much bigger.

This got my eleven year old mind thinking: if I was so little compared to this massive ocean, then something had to be even bigger than the ocean to create it. In that moment, I was in awe of the God who created me. A God who is so much bigger than myself. A God who shows His creativity and beauty in the things around us and the people around us. In that moment, I not only got to see the ocean for the first time, but I got to see God within nature for the first time.

As it says in the Catechism, “The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will,” (CCC 341). Time and time again, God has inspired me through nature by the power and the intricacy and the beauty of it all. Whether that be a thundering rainstorm, a magnificent sunset, a hidden lake, a range of mountains, or a delicate snowflake, my heart can be easily lifted up and reminded of God.

On the flip side, I also often find myself stuck in my own mind, viciously pondering over 3 to 5 things that are going on in my life, forgetting that God is calling me out of myself. (A quick plug: if you haven’t read and prayed with the book of Hosea in the Old Testament, it’s time to.) In the book of Hosea 2:14 it says, “Therefore, behold I will allure her; I will take her into the wilderness and there I will speak tenderly to her.”  God allures us into the beauty around us so that He may speak a deeper truth into our hearts. He is constantly calling out to us that we may come to Him. This can be done by either metaphorically or by physically stepping out into the wilderness.

Going outside gets me out of my own head, out of my own worries, and helps me see the goodness around me and that God will take care of everything. Not only will going outside and recognizing the beauty around us inspire our faith, it will also benefit our mental and physical health as well! When I was researching how spending time outside affects the human person, so many responses came up about lower blood pressure, less stress, improved creativity, better sleep, and many other benefits.

Needless to say: GO OUTSIDE AND DO THINGS. Go on an adventure with God, because He wants to go on an adventure with you! Leave your phone behind, grab a water bottle, and go somewhere you’ve never been. Wake up early to see the sunrise before anyone else is awake or lay on the grass and wait for the stars to appear — God created this world for us to enjoy and to be a part of. Let us take advantage of this beautiful, miraculous gift that God has given us. So basically 11 out of 10, would recommend to a friend.

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