A few nights ago, I was in one of those “contemplative moods”. I’m a philosophy major so this tends to happen a lot, but this time it was the weekend and most TFC students were visiting home or hanging out off campus, so I decided that I’d take a leisurely walk knowing that I wouldn’t be bothered.
Doing this reminded me of all the times that I would walk into the woods by my granny’s house to get to a nearby river. After a nearly thirty minute walk, I’d find a tree next to the flowing water and sit down, listening to all the sounds. After several minutes of being quiet, some animal or another would eventually make its way to the bank of the river for a drink, and I’d sit and watch without making a sound. It was something I always enjoyed.
When I got to walk around the outskirts of campus without having to avoid students, it was a pleasant reminder of those times at my granny’s, when I’d “be alone” off in the woods. It was also one of the first times that I contemplated something that didn’t relate to my major. I just walked around and contemplated the things that were surrounding me.
First I saw a shooting star. It shot through most of the sky, and it directed my attention to the rest of the stars. So I walked for a while with my head in an uncomfortable position, remembering that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the
skies proclaim the work of his hands” Psalm 19:1.
After some more time walking, I started past the small cemetery, and something immediately caught my attention. My nose singed from a horrible smell. I then heard something moving around, and soon from the corner of my eye I noticed a small creature wobbling around the counseling building. It was a skunk, confirmed by both smell and sight. And in my contemplative mood, I watched it as it scurried around in search of…whatever it is skunks search for.
In extremely south Georgia, skunks are incredibly rare. I had never seen one until coming up to TFC. When I would walk into the woods at my granny’s, I’d see animals like deer, or a fox, or rabbits, i.e. pleasant animals. Watching a deer take a sip of water from a river, or a family of foxes running along a path, or a rabbit nibbling on some grass makes a wonderful photograph. You could take a picture of any of those scenes, frame it, then look at it and relay how beautiful God’s creation is; how he has made delightfully charming critters out of his wisdom, how the ecosystem is perfectly balanced because of
the workings of his creatures, etc.
But then you see a skunk near a cemetery. What are you supposed to think about that? Does that make a beautiful picture of God’s wisdom and power? As I looked at this little skunk scuttling along and minding his own business, I began to think about why my thoughts had made an extreme U-Turn, going straight from contemplation and wonder of God’s creation, to “Ewww”.
I had no reason to be prejudiced against the skunk. Skunks were made by God and declared to be good by him. Of course, I may never completely understand why God made skunks. But after staying back and watching him (and smelling him) for a while,thinking about the skunk’s place in God’s creation, I began to get a partial picture. This picture didn’t come as some immediate revelation. It came through believing that the skunk was created by God and placed here for a purpose, whatever that may be.
Deer, foxes, and rabbits aren’t the only creatures that point to a loving God. Even the weirdest of creatures show his glory through what he has done.