Jul 18th, Listening to Your Life Finding God in Unexpected Places: Recreation and Hobbies

Posted: Sun, Jul 18, 2021
Jul 18th, Listening to Your Life Finding God in Unexpected Places: Recreation and Hobbies When I was growing up, I actually had a youth pastor say to me one time when I had missed youth group in order to go horseback riding, I think they said to me, wow, it’s too bad you don’t love [...]

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Rev. Morgan Schmidt

Jul 18th, Listening to Your Life Finding God in Unexpected Places: Recreation and Hobbies

When I was growing up, I actually had a youth pastor say to me one time when I had missed youth group in order to go horseback riding, I think they said to me, wow, it’s too bad you don’t love Jesus as much as you love going horseback riding. And you could have filled in the blank with anything with my peers at the time, soccer practice or family gatherings or various other hobbies. And it was always this sense in the church, in my youth group, that if you were doing something that wasn’t specifically labeled Christian, it wasn’t as good as going to church or doing something with that Christian or Jesus label.

And I don’t know about any of you, but I imagine that’s been a really common experience for those of us who grew up in the church, that anything that’s outside of kind of this label of approved Christianity or approved Christian action takes us away from God somehow. And it’s just not true. We hear from Jesus that he comes so that we can have life and have it abundantly. And I think that means connecting to God and to Jesus and to love and life through the things that we care most about.

I say to our students now in youth group many times that if the Bible tells us that God is a God of love, if God is a God of life and goodness and beauty and truth, then wherever we find, wherever we find love or life or goodness or beauty or truth, we are encountering something of who God is and anything we do that has those components and makes us feel more fully alive, that abundant life that Jesus promises us, that’s connecting us to God.

And so I’m so excited this Sunday to talk with a few of our friends, members of our community about the things that they love to do that they’re really passionate about and how they connect to God to love and to life through those things.

Hi Ann-Marie, how are you, my friend? I’m so I’m good. Thank you so much for joining me and sharing what you are so passionate about. I’ve never seen anything like this.

It’s pretty amazing. So what what is happening between us here.

This is my this is my holder of my hobby and here would be my hobby as well, protected with a fuzzy animal. This makes me so happy now I know. And only crazy people.

This is appropriate for the season we’re in as well. Right. So, well, actually, I have Roller’s that I can I can do in the sense that in skating since I was 12, I, um, I watched it on TV and told my parents, oh my gosh, I want to do it. I got skates for my birthday. And ever since then I’ve just been incredibly passionate about it. It was something that I could do on my own and just feel free and be creative with music.

And it’s just been an amazing journey. And lately I’ve gotten back into it since I’ve had kids. I haven’t been doing it, but I’ve gotten back into it recently teaching. So it’s been awesome to teach the little kids, you know, and watch the light bulb go off and and push them out of their comfort zone. And when they say they can’t, they can’t. That’s not part of the vocabulary. And part of it is get back up and do it again.

And so it’s it’s been amazing. It’s been an amazing what something about ice skating for those of us who maybe I call myself a wall clinger. I just I cling to shuffle. Yeah, yeah, yeah. What’s the thing that would surprise those of us that aren’t into ice skating?

Yeah, well, it’s I just teach the kids and adults walk like a penguin and it just helps people be stable. But you’re you’re on a blade as opposed to an entire entire sole. And so it’s it’s just it it’s a different experience. It’s an incredible experience. It’s just a totally different feeling. And you can do it with your friends, your family or by yourself. It’s just it’s just a great sport.

Tell us more about what you love about it. What what brings you to life when you’re on the ice? When I get onto the ice, I feel like I’m home. It’s just this freedom of it. It is it’s freedom. It’s it’s getting out of my comfort zone, my everyday life, my everyday thoughts, because you’re there and you’re present and then having the camaraderie of the people at the rink and and again, teaching kids. And when the kids come up and say, show me how you do this, it just it just warms my heart to to impart my passion with other people.

And in turn, I’ve seen some of these kids really push themselves to competition. And so I don’t know. It’s it’s just and when the sun is rising because we go to a ridiculous time in the morning to go practice with the sun rising over the rink and it’s just a gorgeous, beautiful experience. Sacred. It is. It’s totally sacred experience sometimes. And sometimes the ice forms on the on the walls of the rink, the clear plastic. And it’s just art and it’s just everything.

It for me is just a spiritual, because God has given me this body and I’ve chosen to. Do this particular thing that sparks me and brings me to life more, it helps everybody else. When when you’re when you’re present with yourself and you are in in alignment with what you love to do and you pay attention to the fact that. This is this is filling my cup. You share that, and so there’s the spiritual experience of it. Again, it’s just free.

It’s flowing. It’s how I feel life. You fall down, you get back up again. It’s like life, you know, fall down, get back up again. And then you go with the flow and push yourself a little bit more. Grow, grow, grow, fall, get back up again. So it’s a.. It definitely, it mirrors life. I was given permission to do something that makes me happy and it took a while to get there.

But I, I’m the cheerleader at the rink. I will cheer everybody on when they land a job or whatever it is. And so. Yeah. And get back up again because you can do this. It’s awesome. And so yeah, I give you a ten as my friend and as a member of our church.

And thank you for asking me.

Of course I love you.

Friends, I am here in Shevlin Park with my friend Linda, who has been a part of first pres. Oh my gosh, since late 70s, but then moved away kind of in the middle. Yeah, I’ve been back for 12 years. Awesome.

Thank you so much for being part of our community. And I know we’ve missed being together. So I’m so excited to be here on site to hear a little bit about what you’re passionate about. I know you have many hobbies and many passions, but tell us a little bit about something that’s giving you life right now. Well, being in the spot here in Chevron Park is one of those places where I get to see birds and not live very far away.

So if you come down on him and see all these variety of birds that you have here, some that people come from all over the world to see like the Lewis’ woodpecker. Yeah, if you had to put words to like what you love about birding. Like, what does that do for you? What do you love about it? Why do you spend time? Oh, my goodness. I just love being out in nature. And so being out here to see all the connectedness of everything.

And so when I look at the birds, and see how they’re connected to the plants and the water, the landscape to us, to everything about it. It just just kinda fills the soul. There’s something sacred in that interconnectivity. And seeing that we’re not just individuals flying through time and space. on own own. We’re all connected in nature, especially is such a big part of that. And like in Genesis it says, let the sky be filled with birds of every kind.

So here we are. And you get to see that live right here in your own backyard. And it’s amazing. This is a friendly note for everybody to come out to Shevlin park and just take the time to look, right? What are your tips for, first timers? People who haven’t gone out to intentionally watch the birds before. What do you tell them?

To be patient? Yeah. And what you’re going to see one day you are not necessarily going to see the next day. To know maybe what you’re looking for a little bit, ask around. So right now, the Lewis’s woodpeckers are here. But I think once the babies are getting ready to fledge. But, if you know what one looks like and you know that they like the dead snags and how important snags are, then as you walk along and you see a snag, stop and spend some time. You walk on to the next one and look. That kind of thing. Know some of the environment of some of the birds you might like to see. And the time of year, to be sure.

It sounds almost meditative the way you describe it, if something were to be grounded and paying attention. Do you have any words around whether you encounter God in the midst of birding, or what that connection is for you spiritually?

I just feel so connected to God out in nature every day. And I don’t know, it’s like the nature gives us… It shows us how we should live our lives and how we should create our environments. So the natural environment is so very special. And then when we create the built environments, we should learn from that. And, to make those inspiring places and places that are using our resources wisely and the imitation of nature when it’s appropriate.

Thank you so much for sharing with us.

We did see a woodpecker close to the parking lot over there. And so I can attest they’re happening here. She’s not kidding and just really beautiful to hear about your passion and to walk with you and see the world through your eyes for a few moments. Thank you so much.

Hi, Steve!

Hello.

Thank you so much for having me over to your workshop this place is amazing.

You are very welcome.

I know that I’ve visited before and learned so much from.

You’ve made some stuff here.

I’ve made some stuff. I have made the mistake of walking in here with flip flops on instead of my clothes

safety violations.

So. So you’ve taught me a lot already. And as I was thinking about people to talk with you about things they’re passionate about, hobbies that they do that connect them to, I’m kind of just saying God or love or something holy, you came to mind right away as someone who creates beauty and truly, obviously loves what you do.

So do you want to tell us, like, how did you get into woodworking to have, like a place like this where you actually know how to use everything that I’m seeing around? Very impressive. How did this begin for you?

Well, first of all, I always was a kid who took things apart and put them back together from a very, very young age. I was the kid in high school. Everyone brought their car too. If you had any trouble or you wanted to make it run better or whatever, I was the guy. I just always been good with my hands and good with machines. Just sort of a natural curiosity about how things work and wanting to make things that work for whatever it is that I’m trying to do.

And so one of the motivations when we moved to Bend in 2003 was I really wanted to have a shop to make things, make heirloom quality stuff so my kids would be inspired by remembering me as a craftsman. Craftsmanship is sort of this personal focus point for me because my dad was a craftsman and just about everything he did. And trained me and a lot of things. And I don’t mean crafts. I mean life. Because craftsmanship to me is a mindset like it’s a mindset of humility, really.

Right. Where you’re recognizing mastery takes decades. The best way to learn that is to be around people who are way better than you all the time, and learn from them. And it’s through failure. Like, the only way to get good at it is to do it over and over, which means you’re going to mess it up over and over. And that’s the cycle of learning that you use to get better. And so there’s a joke in the woodworking community that the difference between an expert and a hobbyist is an expert knows how to hide the mistakes that they make.

The craftsmanship thing, you know, especially in this generation of sort of throwaway, you use it for two years, but you can get another one. I wanted to be able to teach them you can build things that last two hundred years and that have soul, which we don’t have anywhere. We don’t do that anymore. Right.

Right. Like this bench, this bench is eighteen hundreds design. My kids have already fought over who gets this. This will be around for hundreds of years and I build furniture the same way. I want to build things for my family that they’ll remember and that has soul, because Wood has soul. Like the reason I like taking a giant slab and making all the pieces is every piece of wood is different. They all have personalities. You kind of have to learn their personalities so that you can sort of honor that piece of wood with its best and highest use. Not unlike life.

So when I come out here, you know, you can tell by looking around, I sort of believe that a space has energy and you design whatever it is… Where you read or where you cook or where you make things. You know, it should instill in you a certain feeling. And it sort of reminds you there’s an arc to life, and it reminds you that maybe you have gifts. And if you can use those gifts to lift someone else up or to bring them inspiration or to contribute in them in some way, then you’re doing good work.

What a beautiful thing.

And that’s part of my opinion, why we’re on the Earth. Our job is to contribute to others. Our job is to leave some sort of positive legacy, whatever that is, with the gifts that we were given. And that’s that’s something I’m trying to do through the things that I make.

What you’re describing sounds just so deeply and inherently spiritual to me.

It is nourishing in that way. I spend hours out here and I haven’t messed something up. You know, you feel lifted up. It’s not unlike, you know, my other serious hobby is music, guitar and bass and singing and all that. And I’ll tell you, when you, my wife will confirm this, if I go and sing and perform. It’s like medicine. You know, I’m happy for the next 24 hours, for whatever reason.

Call it vibration. Calling it just… The gift goes out, whatever it is. Same thing in here where you feel like you’re building something that somebody might be enjoying for a very, very long time. That’s a good feeling.

How would you articulate the way that connects you to God or I mean, obviously you’re talking about that. Yeah. Do you have words for that connection with God or that larger? I think you’re speaking to energy a lot, which is beautiful, that there’s this energy that moves through us and through the world in creative and beautiful ways.

Yeah, it’s you know, speaking of arc, I mean, it’s a transition I’m sort of in now, which is… You know, we all have to be thinking what is our purpose here on Earth? What is our… Why are we here? What are we doing to contribute and being in here reminds me that I have gifts that maybe others don’t have, like things that I think are easy. Other people like I could never do that.

I can vouch for this.

And other people have things where I go, “I could never do that”. So it’s a reminder of that. And like I talked about earlier, there’s a humility to mastering something, to craftsmanship. I have some stickers on the door when you walk in and says “craftsmanship is risk”. Life is risk. You know, you put yourself out there, whether it’s you end up with a broken heart or you end up with, you know, you made a mistake or you move to the wrong place or you work for the wrong company or whatever it is.

Right. There’s risk in all these choices and you learn from those. So to me, I think it is humbling and it centers you because of that. You might have a busy mind. Like I have a busy mind for sure. Got five wheels spinning at the same time. And you come out here and… that quiets those wheels and it just leaves you in a place where I don’t know, your blood pressure’s lower, your heart rate’s lower and you feel nourished.

And so, you know, it’s I call it my happy place. And and we should be happy, right? We should strive to do good work. That doesn’t mean you have to suffer all the time. It doesn’t mean you have to be uptight all the time, like you can be happy and do good work. And so I think this place reminds me that it’s one of the things I think God wants for me is, you know, do some good work, but enjoy yourself and contribute to others and feel satisfied with that.

Thank you so much. You’re welcome. It’s really beautiful. Yeah, it’s always fun to have here.

I love being here. We need to do more projects.

Yeah. You need to think up a new project.


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