As part of our efforts to reconcile with Creation, how can we deepen our relationship with nature? How can we engage Creation in our search and service to the Creator?
Have you ever had those times when you were so engrossed yet joyful in what you were doing it felt like the only reality you had to deal with? Have you ever been in a situation that just felt ‘right’ and made you not want to leave? Well, the Davao trip was that time for me. It felt like a true blessing after a hard term of school. There was nothing I needed more than a couple of days away from the everyday life I live back here in the Metro.
Our schedule was filed to the brim and the 5 days there were filled with so many different activities. One of my personal highlights was the chance to explore the environment of Davao. We were able to explore the beaches of Samal Island and snorkel in the turquoise waters with corals and starfish below. We got the chance to visit Malagos and witness the habitat of exotic creatures like Falcons, Eagles, and giant Boa Constrictors. These sights both opened my eyes to the beauty of nature – of Creation – and it also made me realize how fragile it can be. It got me thinking about how we humans often take nature for granted. We sometimes fail to express the gratitude and care we owe. People litter, overfish and pollute the air with greenhouse gas emissions (just to name a few). We honestly have so much to thank nature for, and we have done so little to show it. And just like committing wrongdoing to a fellow person, we have to one day look for reconciliation with nature. This is definitely easier said than done.
First, we have to remind ourselves that we need the environment. We as humans often get too caught up in ourselves and in what we want that we fail to see whether or not what we are doing is affecting our surroundings. We have to remember that we aren’t the ‘owners’ of planet Earth. We didn’t get this planet for our use; this planet ended up with us, and so far I wouldn’t consider Earth to be that lucky.
Another thing that can deepen our relationship with nature is remembering that it isn’t infinite. Too often do we have the mindset of “Oh, what I do won’t affect nature ‘cuz nature’s really really big and I’m just me.” Nature isn’t indestructible, and we do run the risk of biting off more than we should if we aren’t careful. Everything we do, big or small, can amount to great change if everyone on the human race does it. Now whether that change is good or bad is up to us. I’ve got this philosophy that nature always wins. And I still stand by it. The only thing in question is whether or not we humans will be around long enough to see it.
Finally, we should always remember that nature and everything in it is a gift given to us. I believe that the Creator made nature to give us the chance to grow closer to His definition of true humanity. It is this reality that makes nature something to love and care for and never take for granted.
For me, nature isn’t just something God put in here on planet Earth with us for us to exploit. I believe it has a purpose. Obviously, it is here to sustain us and help us live as people. Nature fulfills our basic needs like food. But I’d like to think the world around us is there for so much more. Nature, quite simply, calls for us to care. It gives us so much, and all we need to do in return is show respect and gratitude. It’s just like caring for your neighbor. It can be related to what Jesus said: “what you do to the least of my brothers you do unto me.” Nature, just like us, was created, and it calls for the same treatment as people. Nature has to be loved. And by loving creation we are loving and honoring the Creator and showing that we appreciate the blessings we have. In serving creation we are serving our brothers and sisters, humbling ourselves and acknowledging the power and might of the one who brought the world around us to light.
Creation gives us more chances to love. Nature makes us human. In the world around us, you can see God, and hopefully, what it means to be human.
Note: Mr. Xandro Hizon graduated on March 2015 from the Ateneo High School. The context of his reflection is the Eco-Spiritual Pilgrimage, 29 August- 2 September, 2014, in Davao City.