Take time to look up
Kathryn Marshall | Wednesday, September 16, 2015
No matter how rational our world becomes, almost everyone makes a wish when they look up and see a shooting star. There is no denying we are intimately connected with the world around us, but we often tend to forget this centuries-old relationship between man and earth. And lately, I have begun to realize how much the world around me, simply put, matters.
I am not writing to push you to recycle, carry around reusable water bottles or eat organic-only foods (although those would be great habits to pick up), because that’s not the first step to saving the earth we walk upon every day.
The first step to protecting this miraculous world in which we live is discovering the connection we have with it. Pope Francis writes in “Laudato Si,” “If the laws are to bring about significant, long-lasting effects, the majority of the members of society must be adequately motivated to accept them and personally transformed to respond.”
I myself was “personally transformed” this past spring. Approximately two months ago, at the end of a semester abroad in Austria, I was sitting along the banks of the River Inn at dusk, looking up at the Nordkette mountains and soaking in the peace of moment. I realized the world around us can heal our hearts and souls if we only take the time to let it do so, and if we in turn help heal the world.
This past week I covered a lecture talking about the forgotten connection between humans and the earth that also entered into discussion about Pope Francis’ encyclical. Connecting these conversations with my experience abroad brings to mind Pope Francis’ words when he writes, “Happiness means knowing how to limit some needs which only diminish us and being open to the many different possibilities which life can offer.”
As a busy college student, it can be difficult to be truly happy all the time. Learning to see, stop and admire the beauty of the world around us is one simple habit that can enrich our lives, just as “looking up” everyday in Austria enriched mine. I may not become an environmental legislator, but as a biology major and as a writer, I hope to contribute to the healing of this world, my center of peace, in my own little way.
In “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis reminds us the human being is full of “worthy creativity,” and we, as the next generation, need to apply this creativity to save nature, the “magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness.” I hope you too can look up and cultivate an awareness of the simple way nature brings you happiness and in turn discover your own way to give back.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.