I live in a city where the buildings define the skyline, trees obscure the horizon, the lights of town dim the lights of the night sky, and the sounds of civilization cover the sounds of silence.
I relish the opportunity to get in the car and drive from my home along Lake Erie across plains and prairies to my parents' home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I've found that these long road trips give me time to contemplate creation and gain rich inspiration from Spirit.
Recently, while driving out West, I crested a hill to find dazzling white peaks of the Rocky Mountains leap into view. At the same instant, strains of a Mozart symphony swelled from the CD player. "Wow!" I breathed. "Wonderful sound, magnificent view. Does it get any better than this?"
I'm not the first person on the planet to wonder about God's handiwork. Thousands of years ago David sang, "When I consider thy heavens ... the moon and the stars ... What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Ps. 8:3, 4). The mountains and the music took me back several years to when I had grappled with this very thought.
At that time I identified with Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz." When the wizard proclaimed, "I am Oz the great and powerful," he then demanded, "Who are you? WHO ARE YOU?" Trembling, Dorothy replied, "I am Dorothy, the small and meek."
I felt as small as the dust of the ground and wondered why I should be worthy of God's notice. I could understand why the Psalmist asked, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" Snow-topped mountain peaks, wind-swept plains, and a star-studded velvet sky let us glimpse the majesty, immensity, and beauty of God's infinitude. How does a mere individual compare or compete, and be of any notice to the Creator?
On one trip, though, as I drove through undulating hills and across vast stretches of open country, I contemplated what I'd been learning of God's creation through my study of Christian Science.
I delighted in the vistas and saw that God delighted in me just as much. I saw the beauty of the countryside and knew that God beheld me as just as beautiful. I knew where I was on the map and understood that God kept track of me just as surely. Somewhere on that trip I lost the feeling of being smaller than an ant and as insignificant as dust. I began to understand that I was, in the words of a hymn, "cared for, watched over, beloved and protected" ("Christian Science Hymnal," No. 278).
It is precisely because God is the Creator that Spirit takes notice of us. The fact is, God made each of us in His image and likeness - spiritual - not mortal or material (see Gen. 1:26, 27).
Spirit did not create us as an afterthought; we are the culmination of creation. God's image and likeness is whole and complete, having all the qualities of God, good. Because the infinite God is the only Creator, there is no power or presence able to take away a single one of our God-bestowed qualities. The spiritual reality is that each one of us is an individual spiritual expression of the one Creator.
One of my favorite hymns says, "Man is the noblest work of God" (Mary Alice Dayton, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 51). This speaks to me of the delight God has in His children. Indeed, the book of Zechariah states: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts ... he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye" (Zech. 2:8). How dear we must be to be the apple of God's eye.
The understanding and secure feeling I gained on that trip have never left me. Knowing that God dearly loves each one of His children is a comforting conviction that I can now share with others.
That road trip with Spirit was well worth taking. Other trips and other vistas have prompted equally deep and enriching spiritual contemplation and inspiration.
Cresting the hill in New Mexico served to remind me of the grandeur of God's creation and sparked more exploration of spiritual territory. I'm grateful for spiritual vistas grander than mountains and strains more compelling than Mozart.