By Dawn King, Sunburst
A young woman from Australia flew to California on a whim and hiked the beautiful 211 mile John Muir Trail in California’s high Sierras. Now she was hooked on solo hiking and decided to take on the Pacific Crest Trail, a much more daunting trek. Two other solo hikers that season lost their lives in this pursuit. Our Aussie girl met plenty of challenges, with swollen rivers, glaciers and snow, which she’d never seen before.
Even when we call it “vacation,” extended recreation can easily turn to “wreckreation.” My own experiences have born this out; and we often hear of the weekend sports person who’s now a recovering invalid.
“Work hard; play harder.” It’s a great motto, but can be our undoing. Coming home from activity-filled vacations with my husband, I usually feel like a wreck, and it takes me a week or more to fully recover from our non-stop hiking, camping, rock scrambling, etc. But I wouldn’t want to miss the beauty and adventure of it, maybe even the challenges.
After thinking I’d created a new word, I found it listed at the Internet’s wiktionary: Noun: wreckreation Recreation that wrecks or harms the environment. For example, running off-road vehicles and mountain bikes through ecologically sensitive areas, running boats with large wakes in narrow watercourses so as to cause bank erosion, climbing in areas where raptors nest, or simply hiking in areas that disturb existing flora, fauna and archaeological resources.
We owe our Mother Earth some conscious care, just as we need to respect our God-given bodies, minds and spirits. Actually, I was thinking wreckreation might be applied to over-indulgence in “recreational” beverages, or other substances that wreak havoc on one’s normal ability to function, i.e. one’s personal environment.
So what’s the purpose of recreation anyway? The word’s roots mean “renewal.” Each day the sun rises and renews our daytime activities, after (what should be) the restfulness of night. Life has a rhythm, an ebb and flow. Sunburst’s founder, Norm Paulsen used to say that even the Creator fluctuates between
“a movement and a rest.”
As a microcosm of the macrocosm, or a chip off the old block of the Divine Creator, we each require a movement and a rest. Re-creation or renewal is vital to our wellbeing. We need a balance of exercise and rest physically, mentally and spiritually, so we don’t become a wreck.
Spiritually, and mentally, the best rest is found when we connect directly with the Divine. This can happen in deep meditation, or sometimes spontaneously in reverie, possibly when awed by the beauty of nature.
My husband, Al once met a woman who was fifty years old and on a road trip, having left Detroit for the very first time in her life. She had never before been face to face with a mountain or a forest, or seen the ocean. Hers was a whole new life, a true recreation and renewal of her realm of experiences. She was very excited about it all.
Let us pray for a wonderful renewal of spirit for all humanity. It is our birthright to realize and reaffirm our divinity as sons and daughters of a Creator who loves us, each and every one so very, very much.