Stop now and experience life

What is your favorite flower, and can you identify it by smell?

For me, hands down, it’s the gardenia.  I love being outside, and every springtime welcomes me to come outdoors and experience the new sounds and smells of a new season.  Just outside my front door, and to the right, is my beloved gardenia bush.  And in just a few months from this writing, it will be full of white, fragrant blooms.

I bring up the flower to get you thinking of the last time you and I stopped to smell the proverbial roses.  This idiomatic phrase is commonly heard in our busy culture, but much less often lived out.  It hearkens back to a lyric we find in the 118th Psalm: “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”  This is a call to enjoy the life we have today rather than rush through it.

I am trying to do this more and more before I’m dead.  Aging has a way of helping us slow down; if nothing else, we’re forced to because we simply cannot move as fast as we once did.  In my case, before my very eyes my children are growing into adults and moving out one by one.  There are more empty rooms in my house and more gray hair on my face; life is passing by, the inevitable ticking of time occurs with or without our acknowledgement.

Today’s culture, even that within our churches, makes it difficult to smell the roses.  A poignant example of this comes to us by observing the camera frenzy we find ourselves in these days.  A picture is worth a thousand words, but a thousand pictures might be worth nothing.  The availability of cameras in our pockets has created a nation of people who have become increasingly numb to the joys of life.  We might get more from life if we were to stop photographing the cute puppy moment and just enjoy the puppy itself.  Pictures of the sunrise never quite capture the way it looked in real life.  How about putting the camera down and just enjoying the moment?

People are so rushed to take a picture of this or that, to catch it on video, to post it on social media, that they don’t even enjoy the event itself.  I have watched a frenzied mother capturing her daughter’s gymnastics performance on a too-large cell phone thing, a wince on her face the whole time.  She never even looked at her real live daughter – rather she witnessed the event on a screen a few inches from her nose, then rushed to upload it here or there.  While Facebook was receiving a clip of the routine, the mother typing away with expert speed, her daughter was looking out to see if mommy was noticing any of her performance.

In contrast, when we slow down, we will enjoy life for what it is.  We notice the beauty all around, interacting with it, allowing it to influence us.

There is a scene in the film version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that illustrates this well.  Sean Penn plays a world-famous photographer perched on a snowy crag in the middle of nowhere in search of an elusive feline known as the “ghost cat”, camera ready.  Ben Stiller plays Mitty, a man whose journey has at that moment led him to a conversation with Penn.  As they are discussing life, winter falling all around them, suddenly the snow leopard appears.  Both are shocked, but the look on Penn’s face is one of slow and stuttered wonder.  Mitty anxiously questions him, perplexed as to why he is not taking any pictures to document this ultra-rare moment.  The reply: “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.  If I like a moment, I don’t want to have the distraction of the camera.  I just want to stay…in it…right here.”

I believe that life can be lived this way.  God is all around us, waiting for us to take notice of him, waiting to be wanted, in the words of A.W. Tozer.  In our culture of hurry, there are a few rare men and women who will stop and smell the roses.  They don’t live on their phone, they treasure the sight, sound, or person right in front of them, and they know the smell of their favorite flower.  In these experiences, they find the presence of God and are drawn to live their lives in reverence and adoration of him.

Let’s be those kind of people.

Upcoming Events

We also meet every Sunday at 10:00 am to worship God together, and throughout the week in home groups all over the city. Please click the link to the left for a complete schedule of home groups.

Our Community

At VCC, we believe that church is not a function: it is a family. Our religion is only as alive as we are, the people that pursue it. So, rather than acting as an organization, we want to act as an organism. We have no time for casual contacts and meaningless formalities. We are a fellowship on an adventure towards the stuff of God. Church means worshipping God together, studying the Bible together, fixing our cars together, hiking together, eating together, playing together, praying together... enjoying the warmth of the Holy Spirit in all parts of our lives together, not just in appointed meeting times.