Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes….
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I have always loved to be in nature. And lately, I have had some wonderful opportunities to bask in its beauty. My family spent two weeks nestled among red rock amazingness, and I recently took a long drive with a dear friend through the mountains close to my home. I also was able to spend a couple of delightful days at Young Women Camp in June.
I think it’s almost a universal thing that people feel something in nature. The sights, sounds, smells, and sensations in nature that enable us to unwind or sort through problems, that refresh and restore and provide rejuvenation and respite, also unite us as human beings. Who can argue against the wonder of a sunset or the peace that retreating to the mountains can bring? We may not agree on religious beliefs or even the existence of a God, but we can find common, shared experience in witnessing a sunset or even enjoying artwork or photography depicting nature scenes.
Because I do believe in God, my latest experiences trying to slow down and savor the beauty around me have had profound meaning for me, even more so as I have considered some of the truths I’ve been pondering about the blessings available to us because of God’s priesthood power. More specifically, I have been thinking a lot about this simple statement from Elder M. Russell Ballard:
Brothers and sisters, the power by which the heavens and earth were and are created is the priesthood.
I love the lines quoted above from Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Consider earlier lines from her poem.
All patterns of what shall be in the Mount;
The whole temporal show related royally,
And built up to eterne significance
Through the open arms of God. ‘There’s nothing great
Nor small’, has said a poet of our day,
Whose voice will ring beyond the curfew of eve
And not be thrown out by the matin’s bell:
And truly, I reiterate, nothing’s small!
No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;
No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;
No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim;
And (glancing on my own thin, veinèd wrist),
In such a little tremor of the blood
The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul
Doth utter itself distinct.
Earth truly is “crammed with heaven.” It’s full of evidence of the wonder and priesthood power of God and the saving power of the Lord, Jesus Christ.