I grew up on a lake, and when not swimming, would explore the shore for hours. I’d stare into shallow holes on the banks, dig into the mud with my hands, and watch the minnows dance and flit in the shallows.
At night I’d think about what I had seen during the day and plan new adventures. I’d lay awake for hours, creating imaginary places, design intricate contraptions in my head and wonder what God thought about when falling asleep.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to live close to the ocean, in the mountains, and near the Ohio River. Each has its own secrets and treasures. Whether it was the discovery of hundreds of salamanders under the pier on a South Carolina lake, or seeing my mother’s Moon Garden bloom into glowing alabaster, the rewards of exploration even close to home have been tremendous.
Now I certainly respect the women and men who spend years preparing for a trek into the arctic or the jungles. I am elated when spaceships burst into the silence of space, and am intrigued by the exacting work of restoration. But I wonder if the less obvious, the less shimmery adventures are too often overlooked.
Surely there is something to be said for the exploration of our hearts when choosing a partner, a career or a faith. What about those quiet moments when we clear our minds, only to learn and see and hear far beyond our senses?
Explorers are not always dressed in parkas or covered in mosquito netting. They are not always lugging gear or testing samples.
Sometimes they are children poking in the dirt with a stick, thinking thoughts far beyond the confines of the earth.