It seemed unreal that a place so enchanted could be found just barely on the outskirts of a capital city. The faithful bubbling on a small waterfall and quiet aroma of greenery flushed out the sound of passing traffic not even a soccer field’s length away. When one of the regulars at work suggested I search this place out, I never imagined this is what I would find. I was caught off guard, swept up and taken to another place in another life-time. Everything was slower, peaceful. The waterfall “Zen” had earned its name rightly.
I turned around, heading towards a forest, eager to see what else I could find. It was along this path that I felt it…
Too warped in the magic, I wandered along the wooden path, inhaling every new sensation the park had to offer. Long green grass and plant life carved the edges of a small stream rolling over visible stones. Yellow and purple flowers playing peak-a-boo around gray rock and wooden benches. The path turned to flat stone as it lead to a small waterfall, rhythmically flowing. I made a loop and headed towards a gazebo. Windows made of glass had Chinese flower art engrained on them. There was a multicolor rug on the floor, covered in dust to not challenge the statuesque. An image of Buddhist elders meditating in this very gazebo flashed through my mind. Next to the gazebo was a small red bridge, one that looked as if it belonged in a Mother Goose tale. Maybe it belonged to the dwarfs in Snow White.
Looking past the bridge, I felt no need to cross it. All that followed were more plants and running water. I turned around, heading towards a forest, eager to see what else I could find. It was along this path that I felt it. The tingling. I should not have been surprised, I had come here to find Him, I just had little faith that I actually would. There was no mistaking the overwhelming sensation crawling through my body. In this captivating garden, I had found God.
I drew weary, bored with the same scenery, leading nowhere in particular. I was no longer under an aimless spell, I was now in desperate search for something.
I sensed His presence, the God of the universe. It may have been the spiritual climate, or simply the quiet, but He was evident, obvious. At any moment, it seemed as if my legs would collapse beneath me, overtaken by a manifestation beyond my comprehension. Somehow I maintained control. Farther down the path I went, slowly the feeling faded. I was now at a chain-link fence, the latch to the other side within grasp. My senses were back to normal, I felt nothing but wonder as to where the path beyond the gate lead. Up, open, step, close, down. No longer was I surrounded by a charmed enclosure, but now an ongoing wood. The path lead on, leaving God behind.
I spent a great deal of time venturing off path into the fresh air of forest. On and on until I drew weary, bored with the same scenery, leading nowhere in particular. I was no longer under an aimless spell, I was now in desperate search for something. I thought I was headed towards God. The farther I walked, the more I would feel Him. Shamefully, I realized I had knowingly walked away from His empowering, divine presence. I scrambled back in the direction I knew lead to the gate. As I stepped through, drawing closer to Zen, my legs began to quiver once more. Peacefulness overtook my blood flow, swimming through every inch of my body. I trembled. Why had I left? To find more, to discover and learn, while all along my hearts desire had been here, waiting.
We walk, we wander. Good intentions with selfish desire
The little red bridge appeared in the front of my view. In barely two full steps I had crossed over it. To think… If I had continued walking, fearful of missing out on what lay ahead in the forest, I would have never crossed the bridge. I would have never gazed about the stone bird house that must have to belonged to the greatest nightingale during the renaissance era. Or used a flower as a cup to hold water, feeling the cool liquid upon my fingertips. Such little, insignificant details that made all the difference. It was an experience meant for me to participate in. If I had kept walking, I would have missed God.
I yearn for adventure, to seek the unknown. How often the longing can pull me away from the present. Keeping my eyes strained on the future where they miss the now completely. God is not only in the next adventure, He is not always ahead of you, calling you into the unknown. No, so often He is in the stillness of the present. The seemingless unexciting day to day. We walk, we wander. Good intentions with selfish desire, to seek adventure and follow God. We must stop. Stand in the stillness. Breath in the fresh spring water and green plantation. Sit on dusty rugs and admire art. Listen for Zen.