“God is not… a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life” – Pope Francis

Our recent stint in the hospital with our son Dominic came to an end and he was able to come home after 21 days. I have no doubt that his recovery and opportunity to bring more joy to us all was moved by your intercessory prayers…and push-ups. For that I am very grateful.

I wanted to give you a glimpse into an experience I had during the chaotic time of his roller coaster recovery from surgery. Towards the third week of no sleep and constant anxiety about the unknown direction of Dominic’s recuperation, I found both my wife and I touched by depression. I’m sure there are a ton of natural reasons for this tail spin, like an overload of the hormone Cortisol dumped into our systems from the constant anxiety of a need to “save” our kid. Regardless of the physiological effects, I could see it in my wife and wanted to bring her peace…but couldn’t.

She suffered alongside our son and even though never giving up faith or hope in God, she couldn’t encounter him in prayer or Scripture. She was too tired to connect with Him in this way. I could feel the barometer of depression rising in her voice when I spoke to her over the phone as we continually planned how to care for our other kids while keeping a constant vigil with Dominic.

It suddenly occurred to me, with the nudge of the Holy Spirit, that I could help my bride encounter Him through the beauty of nature. Since we live in Texas, it happened to be a gorgeous 70 degree day…in January. I called her back and told her that I would be coming to pick her up. We arranged for Dominic to be cared for and went to the botanical gardens which was near the hospital to take in a breath of fresh air.

We both needed to be touched by beauty. The splendor of creation can bring a person back to life who is in the midst of suffering.  It allows us to encounter Him in such a way that it prompts us to look to the One who breathed into being such magnificence.

While the Mass, Scripture and prayer are the most powerful ways to encounter God, he is always looking for other opportunities to connect with us especially through the intricate natural world that he created. This experience brought back a needed perspective; one in which we again could recognize beauty and goodness.

We found that this was something we needed to make time for more often. So take this lesson to heart…call your bride, take some time from work and bring her to a place where beauty radiates. Here you can expect an encounter.

“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)