About 30 years ago, I was just outside of Las Vegas and I have a vivid memory of how at peace I felt in the quiet beauty of the desert. Ever since, I have yearned to go back to the desert to see if I could experience that kind of peace again.
This week, I have my chance. My sister invited me to join her in Taos, NM, while she attended a painting workshop. While she is away all day, I get to play. On day two of my stay, I found the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge only 10 miles out of town. I had never seen the Rio Grande Gorge before and when I say it is breathtaking, I am not exaggerating. It literally took my breath away every time I looked down to see the Rio Grande River over a half mile below.
Yesterday I thought, “Here is my chance to experience the peace of the desert again,” so I hiked about two miles along the ridge of the Gorge, away from the crowds and highway noise of the bridge. Yup, the desert was just as peaceful as I remember. It was such a blessing to be alone in nature surrounded by beauty that I couldn’t have imagined. And the silence! Not a cricket, mosquito or wasp to be heard. Just silence.
I was told to look out for rattle snakes. I grew up around rattle snakes so I wasn’t worried and was delighted when I came across a fairly intact rattle snake skin. As I sat quietly on a rock in the shade overlooking the Gorge, a salamander came out and kept me company. A huge hawk flew so close to me I could feel the breeze from his wings as he perched on the cliffs to my right. And earlier that day, before my hike, my sister and I had seen two big horn sheep halfway down the Gorge. They looked like little toys down in that canyon. And did I mention the breathtaking beauty!?
What more could I ask for? All of these lovely brushes with nature, time alone, the peace. Yet, I found myself always looking for more. After finding the snake skins, I wanted more snake skins. I wished for more glimpses of wildlife, more grand views, more… of what, I’m not even really sure.
Suddenly it hit me. Can’t I be content with what I have? My experience in those three hours was beyond any expectations I could have dreamed of, and yet I wanted more? I sat down on a rock and asked for forgiveness. The Lord had given and shown me much and instead of fully appreciating it, I kept searching. Not too different from my day-to-day life. I have so much, but often find contentment slipping through my fingers.
As I sat in silence and let the reality of the blessings of the day fully kick in, tears of gratitude sneaked down my cheek. Why is God so good to me? God only knows–literally. I sat in contentment for as long as I could, appreciating every gift I had been given, every thing I had been shown. Reluctantly, I started my trek back, but now I was determined to walk in contentment and gratitude.
Being Human connection: All I have been given is more than enough. Thanks be to God!
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. -1 Timothy 6:6
The photo is one view of the Rio Grande Gorge. The bridge is off in the distance. No photo does justice to the magnitude of the Gorge, but I thought I’d try.