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Missing The Grand Canyon

Christine Anderson

The entrance of Your words gives light;

it gives understanding to the simple.

I opened my mouth and panted,

for I longed for Your commandments.

(Psalm 119:130-131)

As the deer pants for the water brooks,

so pants my soul for You,

O God. My soul thirsts for God,

for the living God.

(Psalm 42:1-2a)

O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You;

†my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.

(Psalm 63:1)

Your word have I hidden in my heart,

that I might not sin against You.

(Psalm 119:11)

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.

††(Psalm 119:105)

Several years ago, on our annual Mother-Daughter Retreat, we decided it would be fun to drive to the Grand Canyon. Rising early in the morning, we packed the car with maps, water, jackets, & snacks. After strapping ourselves and 7 month old baby Christian in, we took off for an exciting adventure. The first mistake we made, however, was asking for directions from two different people, and neglecting to check the map. Happily chatting away, we drove for many miles before I started getting a niggling feeling that something was not quite right. It seemed that we should have reached the Grand Canyon some time ago Ė and now all we could see in any direction was dessert and scrub, and not a single sign of civilization Ė not a single place to stop to ask directions. Finally, we saw a little shack with an Indian woman selling silver jewelry beside the dusty road. ďDo you know where the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is?Ē I asked.

Her reply was a blank look! I asked about the Colorado River, and she said there was a river with a bridge just up ahead. With relief, we got back on the road. Sure enough, there was a bridge Ė over a trickle of water! I knew we were in serious trouble when a sign for the Cliff Dwellers appeared, but at least there was a gas station nearby. I bet the attendant is still laughing at the bedraggled young women who asked the location of the South Rim, and were told they missed the turn. By 130 miles!!! The North Rim was still 80 miles ahead! We were literally in the middle of nowhere, with no option except to turn around and go back the way we had come. By then, we had all used up our happy attitudes, especially the screaming baby in the back seat.

When we were speaking to one another again, we decided to see what spiritual lessons we could glean from our experience. All our frustration could have been avoided if we had done one thing: consult the road map! If we had taken the time to study the map before we ever left the hotel, we would have known the correct route to take, and to be on the look-out for the sign telling us where to turn off the highway. Instead, we decided to do it our own way, relying on faulty advice from others, and deciding to look at