The sense of community that I get from church is important for my recovery. However, church is not where I feel closest to God, nor is it where I feel most centered. No, that would be when I am in His creation, aka nature.
Part of it is that the introvert in me loves the space that comes from being in nature. I love not having anyone around, except for the person or people that I might be hiking, camping, or exploring with. And with my social anxiety just as absent as unwanted people, I can focus on enjoying the experience, hearing the sounds, seeing the sights, smelling the scents, etc.
And this experience, one I know was created by Him, makes me feel closer to Him, a fact that also gives me piece of mind. While the sermons that I get from my pastor in church are important, the serenity of his birds singing, lit only by His sun as it filters through His trees. Indeed, for me the world’s most beautiful stained glass window can’t compare to the wonders of sun light breaking through cloud banks or tree tops (although the lighting inside the Sagrada Familia comes close).
Being in this environment can help me recharge and it can certainly help fuel my recovery. And while I stress that Faith & Healing isn’t a series meant to convert anyone to my faith, the beauty of nature is that you don’t have to be religious to appreciate it or to have it help you heal. You can just come as you are, hopefully leaving only footprints behind.