When Words Fail Me


We were getting close to the visitors center at the South Rim. We had come far. 1300 miles in a truck pulling a travel trailer, three kids in the backseat, a flat tire miracle, a transmission scare (which turned out to be a fuel filter issue), changes of plans every day. But we had finally made it!

“Close your eyes,” Jason said,  “and I’ll lead you there.”

We had met my Uncle Ernie and Aunt Rose and my two cousins in Flagstaff the day before. I asked Aunt Rose to keep an eye on the kids while Jason led me to the rim. Didn’t want them jumping in or anything.

Now I have to explain that ever since growing up in the mountains of Latin America, the mountains have been in my blood. Living in the lowlands for 15 years have made me appreciate any kind of topography whatsoever. As we drove into the hills of San Antonio and the elevation began to change, my soul began to breathe deep. As we continued through southwest Texas and up through New Mexico and Arizona it just got better.

But even a mountain lover is not prepared for the Grand Canyon.

I’ve seen the photos. Bought books and checked others out at the library. Heard personal testimony of the greatness and beauty. My expectations were pretty high. But I was blindsided by a thought, “What if it’s not as great as what everyone says? What if I’m disappointed?” A crazy thought for sure, but as I was led down the path to the look-out I wondered just what my reaction would be.

It was overcast and the rain would gently come and go. I looked down at the ground as we walked and we finally came to a place everyone agreed upon. I heard a few exclamations from my children as we approached and Thaddaeus yelled out, “Is this the Grand Canyon?!” Jason put my hand on the metal guard rail and I could feel all eyes looking at me.

“OK, open your eyes.”

And this is when all words fail me. No description does justice to what I experienced at that moment. My first thought was, “Are you kidding me? Is this real?” The immensity and beauty and majesty and awesomeness. The way the sun hit the side of the canyon and enflamed it red, and then the layers upon layers and all the colors. The blue and orange and red and purple. The treacherous cliffs and the chasm stretching out beyond what my eyes could see. The mists and the rain and the sky in all array of colors above. Ah, language! How I butcher the beauty!

I have only had one other similar experience. The only other moment of absolute disbelief and amazement was when I held my baby girl for the first time. Both of those times I was overcome by involuntary tears.

The Grand Canyon exceeded my highest expectations.

We went back to camp to fix dinner that evening, but hurried back to get a view of the canyon during sunset. As we pulled up we noticed a double rainbow in the steel gray clouds. We ran frantically to the rim with the camera and were able to take some shots in a tiny window of time before the clouds covered the rainbows from sight.

To see the sign of God’s covenant to the earth, two colored bows, stretched over one of the greatest evidences of a worldwide flood was overwhelming.

I was overcome by God’s great love for me. That I could get to see his handiwork like this! There are no words.

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