Posted by: John Adams | October 16, 2007

A Walk in the Park

I was staring through the window at the trees on 15th Avenue, listening to music as the bus’s diesel baritone rumbled down the narrow city street. The afternoon was picture perfect. The wind was shaking the trees loose of their leaves, lining city streets with fiery bursts of color. They drifted down to the pavement in colorful clumps, and occasionally were animated by a ghost of wind who would catch them in a circular dance — red and orange and yellow, round and round and round.

I exited the bus at Multnomah Street and joined a crowd of strangers crossing into Holladay Park. The fountain at the park’s center rose and then fell in rhythm as the leaves drifted down from the trees. I suddenly became aware of the majesty of the moment, of the grace that was shining through this parade of color. For a moment, my theology fused with my experience, the sacred invaded the secular, and my mind yielded gladly into worship. I have had moments of wonder before, but this one was marked by this distinct difference — that it was profoundly spiritual. It was not at all like the moments of appreciation that would come to me when I was not walking with God. This time, Christ pervaded the air. He filled it, as a hand fills a glove or as the ocean washes the holes away on the beach. As beautiful as it all was, the experience would have been thin and shadowy but for knowing Him.

We all receive stabs of joy, times when we get glimpses of the way things ought to be. There is a difference, however, between my experiences while I was in rebellion against God, and my experiences now that I am in glad submission to Him. When I was away from God, I felt as though I wanted to take the beauty into myself, it being so temporary and I being so briefly pierced by its light.

Now that I am at peace with God, I feel as though it only sharpens my senses to the heady grace that permeates the world. My soul’s longing finally has a place to be fulfilled. The long arc of wonder that begins with a simple walk in the park can finally find its final resting place in the boundless country of the Trinity, where Father, Son, and Spirit in endless love abide.



  1. Holladay park was beautiful yesterday! In the centre, I saw leaves pouring down like rain; and they twirled and danced in the wind like hundreds of butterflies. The colors were so vibrant that it seemed to bring life of its own.

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