Wednesday, August 12, 2009
When I saw G_d
G_d is defined in so many ways. I often use the spelling GODDE to be less gender specific. For some it is the old man in the sky. Others as a divine presence watching each move we make. For others it is a metaphor for anything transcendent or a mystery which cannot be explained. I.e. the very nature of religion and faith itself. Some cling entirely to science. Today I'll NOT say who might be right, or how I feel on the topic. But my story reveals the very sense of awe from which the manifestations of G_d arise.
Our story begins in the late eighties. Myself, my daughter, and several cousins planned a journey together to Mesa Verde in Colorado for a camping vacation. We drove all night and into the next day before arriving. The view in those mountains was glorious, and each night we would sit around the campfire, weaving tales and telling lies about each other. One night after a program put on by the rangers, I turned to my daughter.
"I've got this idea. Want to go see the Grand Canyon?"
"Yep. We can drive all night and be there by morning dawn. It will be our little adventure."
So we went and told the others we were leaving on a road trip and should be back by the next evening. The desert is a beautiful and eerie place at night. There was little moonlight. At one point I pulled over my truck and we got out. Together we stared up at the majesty of our universe. There were no traffic sounds, and the view of the sky was unrestricted. It's enough to take your breath away. For once we both were speechless.
Then back into the truck we climbed, and drove into the wee hours. Just before sunrise, we arrived on the South rim of the Grand Canyon. I had my camera with me. My goal? I wanted a photo of the canyon in that instant when the sun pops out over the horizon. Quietly we waited. We saw the horizon begin to light up as we waited. A normally busy national park was deathly still this morning. Camera ready, I waited.
Then suddenly there was a flash of light even as I snapped my photo. I have the shot I took, but the camera could not take in what we saw in that moment. Along with the beams of sunlight forming a cross of sorts, there was a gamut of color and light which bathed our senses in that moment. The canyon walls with their various colors. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The sort of vision restricted to mystics perhaps. It was the face of G_d. The metaphor is needed for lack of sufficient words to describe the experience in that moment. Another word might be "miracle." And yet that miracle is repeated every morning at near the same time. We stood there quietly. It was a time for reflection. What I had just seen remained branded upon my heart until this very day. Then the long drive back to the campsite.
One other story from this trip worth telling. A deer wandered into our camp. The animal was such a ham for a camera. She and my daughter posed. They both looked away, then turned and heads near each other smiled for the camera. Their moves were synchronized and the moment special. Interesting is it not what we remember so many years later. It was an awesome vacation for us all, and a spiritual one as well.