It happened fifty years ago, as our family of six traveled and camped overnight near the Grand Canyon. In the darkness of early morning, my father roused us from sleep. We piled into the car and huddled under blankets, as my dad drove us the short distance to the canyon. Torn away from my warm sleeping bag, I was hungry, for we left before breakfast. We parked and hiked to the safety railing of the canyon. I stood, shivering and yawning, waiting for the sun to rise.
The first rays of sunlight exposed only the rim of the canyon. But very gradually, the sunlight unveiled the upper walls of the canyon, layer upon stratified layer. Finally, after a long wait, the sunlight searched out the lower walls of the canyon and, finally, chased away the shadows from the darkest corners of the canyon bed. We watched in silence, as the sunlight revealed the glory and majesty of the canyon’s colors, textures, and patterns.
I spied the thin ribbon river, so insignificant, at the bottom of the canyon, a mile below us. It was this same river, my father told me, that in ancient times was mighty and deep and roared through the landscape to carve out the contours of the canyon. Incredulous, I surveyed the river and then scanned the walls of the canyon, up to the rim. What force of nature could be so fearsome and powerful as to carve a canyon a mile high?
I remember that day as one of the best gifts that I have ever received: A once-in-a-lifetime experience.
And I think about that morning every time I read these words:
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
~~~C. S. Lewis, from The Weight of Glory