With all the activities, pausing for breath is helpful. So when we dropped off the kids at a Church family’s house for their trip to the History Museum we had the choice of chilling or preparing food for our guests when they returned.
We are truly blessed with a most beautiful marriage, but the white noise of four healthy, energetic children is always there, except for when they are in bed and on a few other occasions.
So even working at food preparation on our own is a Grand experience with space to think and smile.
Next day we are on a big round trip, from an early rise we are away with a couple who are doctors, who want to show us the Jemez Mountains. In Scotland we would call them the “Jimmy’s”. The Bandeliers were on the journey. Caves carved out of the cliffs by the Anasazi people and lived in by the Navajo tribe: entry by large ladders only. Their traditional Church, called a Kiva is dug into the ground to keep it cool in the summer and with a fireplace to keep it warm in the winter. Their upgraded version is much larger and above ground, inspired by the conquistadors and the Roman Catholic faith.
The Psalms again were inspirational in my head –
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27
Yeah, I do miss worshipping in Dunbar but I am excited after a meal out with two couples, that Sunday follows this trip. The meal is lovely, but the conversation is much more special. Jokes, mission, service, theology and desire for the building of Christ’s Church are real passions to savour.
The Americans are more confident in general than us Scots. They dissect, chew and digest sermons giving more detailed interactions, always thankful, mainly asking questions about how to apply it or commitments to get more involved and make God a bigger priority.
We then pack for the GRAND trip. Up so early and 7 hours of driving with short stops, before we arrive at the GRAND destination. The CANYON is vast – 18 miles across at some points, a mile deep and 277 river miles long. Here I have a moment with my creator as I bow in awe at who He is that creates a world so diverse, so amazing, in order that we can discover Him in His creative power.
Another day begins and we go further around the rim of the Grand Canyon – it is no less spectacular seeing it again and again. Perspective is everything, an artist sees the light and shade, the colours and the hues; a preacher sees God’s handiwork, but a teenager who stands looking at their phone is only looking for wi-fi. (No teenagers of mine thankfully). We take in sunset and head for our hotel.
So the guide books say, “No trip to the Canyon is complete without a proper hike down into the bowel of this wonder”. Our last day here begins early and we trek downwards, hairpin bend paths, tunnels in the rocks, and the sheer cliff edge beside us all the way. For me I am still being gripped by God, I am singing praise songs – my arms are out like a cross shape and God touches me once more – GRAND connections spiritually are high points we carry for the rest of our lives. I now know I have to tell you folks that they are definitely possible and that God has them for YOU if you dare to get that close to HIM.
As well as much fear and trembling, it is not a path for the fainthearted when it comes to physical exertion. On the way down it is tough, but on the way up, in the high 80s it is four times harder. (Bear in mind I have a dodgy knee)
So as the legs hurt and the heads go down – I know that encouragement is essential. My suggestion of double scoop ice creams is a step in the right direction. We make it, rest, wash and savour our reward, before the 7 hour drive back to base for a wash and sleep.
A GRAND TRIP – I am confident that it beats drugs or drink everytime! It does not have to be one of the wonders of the world – just a journey with the God who creates all life’s wonders!
The likelihood is that we will never do this again – but our memory and photos will hopefully remain for a long time to come.