On Nothing

“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” Psalm 33:8 – 9

It can be hard to understand the word “nothing.” You see according to dictionary.com, it means: Something that is nonexistent. And of course, if something doesn’t exist, we can’t know about it because it doesn’t exist. So, when we begin to talk about nothing, we are in fact trying to talk about that which doesn’t exist. It gets a little existential and existentialism is about the nature of things that exist. And since nothing doesn’t really exist…well it gets a little dizzying as we circle back and forth and round and round when we begin to talk about nothing.

I get tickled when I ask my grandchildren what they are doing, and they say nothing. I get just as tickled and sometimes annoyed, when I ask my husband the same question and he responds with “nothing.” Since nothing is the absence of anything…it is difficult…actually impossible, to do nothing because in reality we are always doing something. And of course, I am just as guilty of saying I am doing nothing when in reality I am doing something it is just not something I consider important, so I relegate it to the category of nothing. But that isn’t really possible since nothing means nonexistent and I am doing something. And now I am getting dizzy! I also sometimes wonder if our nothing could be related to our expectations. Like yesterday, here in Florida when we were expecting a hurricane to blow through with all the associated wind and rain and instead, we got nothing.

Nothing is exactly that, NO – THING…nothing, zip, zilch, nada, zero. And so, I find nothing difficult. Maybe it is because I love nature so much and as the saying goes: nature hates a vacuum which is a little like nothing in that it is space that is entirely devoid of any matter of any kind. I think a vacuum would be a great place to store nothing. (sorry…couldn’t resist) But back to my gardening.

This past weekend, ahead of hurricane Isaias, I spent almost an entire day playing in my backyard garden. Please note, I do not call tending in my garden work as for me it is play as I trim, weed, plant and anything else I get to have fun doing as I get in my yard therapy. And it is therapy for me as I work in the soil and watch my plants grow and thrive or not. I find I have a green thumb for some plants and a definite brown thumb with others. Being in nature reinforces my difficulty with “nothing” as I work with the plants, and see God as the world around me joyfully sings God’s name.

We are taught that God spoke and everything we know came into being. How this happened specifically doesn’t matter. God is an infinite God who can create by igniting a spark that gradually over millions of years evolved into what we know today, or God could create everything in its fullness right from the beginning. All we really need to know is that God began a wonderful work that filled the great vacuum of space with incredible beauty and diversity and when he created humankind God gave us the job to take care of all that God created.

And right now, our ecology, could use a little help. And since we are the ones that have created the pollution throughout our world, we should be the ones to clean it up. Just like we ask our own children to pick up after themselves, I think it is high time we began to pick up the messes we have created. I am sad when I take my walk each morning and see trash just thrown out on the side of the road. It is not that difficult to take your trash home and toss it into the trash bins given to each homeowner for the trash company to pick up twice a week. It is not hard to find a trash can when you are out in public as most businesses have them outside their establishments and if they don’t, they should. And trash is just one way we pollute this beautiful world we have been given to live in and have been commanded by our creator to take care of all that was created.

So, my challenge for you all today is this: How can you make your footprint on the world smaller? Do you buy less disposable items? Do you leave no trace of your existence when you use our parks, beaches, or other public spaces? Do you think through your purchases to see if it is something you really need or is it just something you want? Do you fix your belongings when they break, or do you toss them to our burgeoning landfill and buy new? If you do buy new, do you donate your stuff to a thrift shop?

Because here’s the thing: We all need to stop doing nothing and begin partnering with our natural resources so they will be around for generations to come. And those resources include clean water and fresh air something we all need in order to live.


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