|Our coffees last week at % Arabica in Kyoto|
In some ways, spending time with Japanese friends has influenced my thinking. Last month was super busy; I completely missed autumn leaf season in Hokkaido. Of course, when we went out, I would see trees changing colors, but I didn’t get a chance to sit outside and quietly enjoy them (until it was just a little too late). I didn’t really think about doing such things before I came to Japan; leaves changing colors just meant it was the beginning of the school year, and a marker of the coming of winter. Now I feel that if I don’t spend time to enjoy each season, my year feels incomplete. That is why last Monday we made an emergency trip to Hakone, in the mountains above Tokyo. (Tokyo doesn’t have much autumn color just yet.) Now I have experienced fall. Bring on the winter… kotatsu, mikan, hibernation… and Christmas concerts.
|At Hakone Museum of Art|
|Even more than the actual museum, the grounds were beautiful!|
|I've finally experienced autumn this year!|
|We made another attempt to see Mt. Fuji... and we saw more of the mountain than last time we were in Hakone... but we had another no-show.|
|At Taki no Ue park (滝の上公園) in Yubari. Not many leaves left.|
|Of course, the picnic included tea.|
Although I was disappointed, somehow the experience became an object lesson. Peace does not come from our surroundings. If it did, no one would ever know peace. Rather, it comes from a heart rooted in God.
I return time and time again to Psalm 1, which we read at our wedding. We read it a couple of weeks ago at our church Bible study. The psalmist encourages the readers/listeners to avoid the path that leads to destruction, but instead to be a person “whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”
At first, my image of this well-rooted tree was one of quiet serenity, but I imagine that like all trees, this one also experiences bad weather, drought, earthquakes, maybe even forest fire.
But it has its roots in the right place. Nothing is going to shake it. I want to be like that tree. I wish I had been a bit more like that tree during the busyness of the last month—to spend less time worrying about having too much to do and not enough time and spend more time rooting myself in God’s goodness and resting in him. Let’s hope I can remember this lesson during next month’s Christmas rush!
Here’s a couple of Kyoto pictures; more later! (Probably.)
|With our friend, Sharon in Kyoto's bamboo forest|
|This is in the garden of the Imperial Palace--usually it isn't open to the public, except by application. But it was open for just a few days, and we were there at the right time!|