We were sitting in the car, another long drive up and down the mountainside. Where were we? On vacation in Yellowstone National Park. Looking out of our windows which were slightly to moderately marred by finger smudges, forehead grease and happy meal stickers, we became enthralled with the landscape around us.
Everywhere we turned, our eyes fell upon sights that are difficult to describe, yet magnificent to behold. In the back seats our older boys who had been previously engaged with electronic devices in hand now found themselves on the edges of their seats soaking in the landscape as it traveled past our rear bumper like a people-mover at an airport. We found ourselves a midst trees and rock and mountain located inside the heart of an underground, still active volcano. Wild life teemed all around us as if undisturbed by our passing presence there. Ravens, nearly the size of adult predatory hawks stalked the picnic areas looking at us with its cimmerian eyes black as night and cawing with its haunting and foreboding calls as if to say ‘pay your price, pay your price and feed us!‘
Our journey there, coated in mystery, brought on its coat tails the afternoon rains and fog. They swept swiftly in lathering the vistas with a deep apprehensiveness with wild abandon. Mesmerized, we carted off the beaten paths, viewed the very hand prints of God as pots of steaming rock burnt its undeniable offerings to the heavens.
How could one not believe in a place like this? To find solace as we kiss the faith of the One who created such a wonderment? As God, in all the wrapped mystery and awe spoke such foundations of rock and earth into being…it is no wonder we found our jaws on the floor or in the seats of our van? Is it no wonder that we lost track of minutes, even hours as we soaked in His presence like nourishment to the soul?
There was this strumming in our hearts as if we had come close to the very doors of eternity, catching mere glimpses of God through His marvelous works, drawn out and craft over thousands, even millions of years. Yet the strumming hasn’t ceased…it still continues now as I write these words. I pray it continues in the throbbing valves of my children’s hearts until they see the very face of God as well. For born out of this solitary journey we touched His hands and kissed His feet. We brought the expensive perfumes and anointed Him head and feet knowing just moments in His presence was more than we deserved…and yet He called us His own. Yet we found Him and His heart. We were caught so blindly unaware of His passionate love for us. Blown away we staggered back, brought up short by His grace and mercy as love showered down upon we, the undeserved. In those moments on that mountain, in the heart of an active underground volcano we found God…and we are defiantly reticent to return to the way we once were.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
-Gerald Manly Hopkins “God’s Grandeur”.