On Learning Together

This past summer, Darryl and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. My parents had our kids for two days and two nights so that Darryl and I could enjoy our traditional, short stay-cation. We just had the best time as we explored Winnipeg and the surrounding area. Each year, Darryl and I try new restaurants. We love trying new restaurants, as well as going back to some of our favourite haunts from the past. It sounds kind of crazy but food has this way of binding Darryl and me together. The older I get, the more sentimental I seem to get. Food is nostalgic for me; new memories, old memories, and those that have become traditions.

Besides eating, we also love to explore our surroundings, both the familiar and the new. We love losing ourselves in a different world for a time. We both love history, so to go to a museum and read every detail and spend as much time looking at any object as we want to is an amazing luxury without our kids! To go into nature and walk and talk and point out things of interest is also a favourite of ours. Learning together is a gift that we give to each other and something that we are committed to. We laugh, flirt, read and walk our way through the day. More often than not, whatever we do becomes an adventure as we learn together.

This past anniversary, one of the things that Darryl and I did was go to the Living Prairie Museum, which is an outdoor natural grassland. When we first arrived at the grasslands, we were pretty nonplussed. Our first impression consisted of an expanse of unkempt, un-mowed grass, surrounded on all sides by concrete high-rises and other urban buildings. The oasis that we had been looking forward to seemed lost in all the grey around it. Since we had driven a significant distance, we figured we might as well at least go check it out.

We grabbed our pamphlet “tour guide” and headed out onto the path. There were 17 stops for us to make on our jaunt through the wild grass. As Darryl and I began our “wilderness adventure,” we became lost in our new world. We read every word on that pamphlet, marvelled at the beauty of each leaf and just enjoyed every moment together. What God has created for us to enjoy is incredible and continuously points us towards Him. I’m learning to open my eyes to actually see what God is saying to and showing me through His creation.

Job 12:7-10 says,

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

Are we too busy to notice God speaking to us? I wish I could say that every day I choose to learn about God’s character through what He has right before me. I don’t. But when I veer off my regular path and do something a little unusual, like going to the Living Prairie Museum, and then choose to learn something, I sense God speaking to me clearly. Contentedness floods over me. There is so much to learn. Isn’t that exciting? God reveals Himself and yet simultaneously remains a mystery. We have a lifetime to be curious, to wonder, to ask questions and to get to know God.

Getting back to my story, after having such an unexpectedly satisfying and enjoyable afternoon at the museum, Darryl and I went to a coffee shop at the Forks, a cultural and historical landmark close to downtown Winnipeg. Darryl is still a little sad that I don’t drink coffee (I have made it this far without coffee, right?!), but the barista (who happened to be my cousin) made a heart in Darryl’s cappuccino knowing that it was our anniversary (awww). We were telling him all about our afternoon and one of the other servers looked at us and with a smirk of good-natured mockery said, “I think you might be over-stating that museum a bit – I’ve been there…” Maybe we were, but I think God wants us to love insignificant details and take note, no matter how small it seems, of what he has created.

Ha! We confirmed something more that day: it really is true that beauty is “in the eyes of the beholder.” What do I choose to see?