It rained Friday night. The kind of rain that comes down in heavy sheets and wakes you from sleep. It kept raining Saturday and I took the opportunity to sit outside, under cover of course, and just enjoyed my Father’s world.
Speaking of fathers, I always think of my earthly one whenever I make the time to sit in solitude, in quiet, and only hear the simplest and most overlooked gifts we’ve been given.
The healing power of nature is powerful and pure. It is as real as any marvel of modern Moderna medication we could ever swallow or inject or absorb into these weak and flawed and failing bodies of ours.
My father, lowercase “f”, taught me to appreciate nature. But I never really did until I got older and saw him put words into action.
He was an avid hunter. He fed me more times than I could ever count with prizes he gained from the efforts of the hunt. Quick note: the prize was the food. Pop had no use for the trophy hunter. End quick note.
In my father’s later years, he would still go hunting. He’d still carry his rifle. But he never took a shot. He liked to sit and watch. To listen. To breathe air that wasn’t tainted. To be in his Father’s world.
So, when I got older and more “learnt” I discovered the greatest thinker of the last 200 years. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “if a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making Earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!”
Throughout time, the world has taken for granted the grandeur of nature. We laid it bare, razed forests to the ground, and wiped out entire species through overconsumption and cruelty. Kevin Costner spoke as Wyatt Earp that there wasn’t a future in Buffalo hunting. “Not with everyone in the territory plugging away from dawn til dusk.” The buffalo were nearly driven to oblivion when American military commanders ordered troops to kill them so as to deny Native Americans an important source of food. There was no Son in that and there was no Sun either.
We didn’t appreciate nature. And so many times we don’t appreciate nature today.
It’s fitting the scenes in that movie were filmed under an overcast sky. Because while there is much power in the storms, there’s more power in what comes after. I appreciate the rain. I love the rain. It reminds me of my father and it helps me find quiet for reflection. But the Sun is the part of nature that gives me life.
The sun’ll come out tomorrow. That’s what little orphan Annie reminds us. That’s the promise of the Son and that’s the promise of the Superman.
The famed superhero had two fathers as well. One earthly and one heavenly.
Kevin Costner (again) played the earthly father of our current Superman.
From the film Man of Steel –
Clark Kent at 13: “Can’t I just keep pretending I’m your son?”
Jonathan Kent: “You are my son. But somewhere out there you have another father too, who gave you another name. And he sent you here for a reason, Clark. And even if it takes you the rest of your life you owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is.”
From the same film, Russel Crowe as Jor-El, Superman’s heavenly father:
“You have given them an ideal to aspire to, embodied their highest aspirations.
They will stumble, they will fall.
But in time, they will join you in the Sun.
In time you will help them accomplish wonders.”
And from the Psalmist:
“though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”
Superman is a metaphor for the Son. He finds healing power in nature, draws his strength from the Sun, and helps try to save us from ourselves.
My father tried to teach me about the power of nature. I didn’t listen until I grew older. But after he was gone, I finally understood what he had been teaching me all along.
I stumble, I fall. You stumble. You fall. The Son has given us all a purpose. We just have to discover what it is with the time we’ve been given.
And just like Superman, we all draw our power from the Sun. We all draw our power from the Son.
So, I say thank you to my father. I say thank you to the rain and the storms. I say thank you to the Sun. I say thank you to the Son.
I say thank you to the Superman.
I hope one day we all join Him in the Sun, with the Son, and accomplish wonders of our own.
Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been recognized five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.