Spiritual Practice


Joanna Stauffer & Richard Woodard

My friends and I took a two-week trip to the Pacific Northwest. We had a great time hiking, talking, laughing, and singing around the campfire. The rugged coast, the snow-capped mountains, and the California Redwoods were impressive.

Late one afternoon, we hiked a trail in Washington’s Olympic National Forest. Towering trees reached straight up to the sky. Sunlight filtered to the forest floor.

Layers of pine needles padded the trail. Streams trickled through small gullies, bordered by ferns. Moss was everywhere, draped over tree limbs high in the air.

Surely the Lord is in this place.
Genesis 28:16b (NRSV)

The silence in the forest felt holy. I lagged behind the others to savor the stillness. The peace of this place spoke more loudly to me than the roar of the Pacific or the majesty of the mountains. The giant trees urged me to stop and meet God in this place.

At home again, I often think of that quiet place in the forest. Friends are great, and I would never want to be without them. But sometimes I need to draw away from the crowd, because my friendship with God is strongest when I’m alone and quiet.

—Joanna S. Stauffer


devozine redwood forest TSP 122497265


Solitude and silence calm the soul.

Seemingly isolated, we are not alone.

The empty places have life of their own.

—Richard Woodard

—from devozine (November/December 2005). Copyright © 2005 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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