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Wonder and Awe

Wonder and Awe

by Maggie Johnson on June 22, 2021

At the end of May, we did a new thing. We did a brave thing, and we did an exciting thing. We traveled by plane and train in the search of wonder and awe. A group of 10 college students and 3 PHPC staff members traveled over 2,500 miles to the Grand Canyon. We went in pursuit of rest, renewal, and reconnection with ourselves and each other. We found all of that and more. 

While at the Grand Canyon, we hiked, we put on sunscreen, and we made sure that everyone in our group was drinking plenty of water. We ate ice cream, and we wrote in journals about the sights and sounds that connected us to the Creation around us. It was a week spent breathing deeply fresh air after so many months spent in the isolation of our own homes, apartments, and college dorm rooms. 

I learned so many things during this trip, but here are just five of the many things that I hold with me from that beautiful week in May: 

  1. We need people to walk beside us on the journey. We need reminders that while we walk through different experiences, we don’t have to do it alone. This trip was one of those holy reminders. 
  2. If God created the beauty and majesty of the Grand Canyon, imagine how beautifully God created each one of us. Imagine how beautifully God created you. That is a good truth.
  3. Washing the sweat, dust, and sunburn off of your face at the end of a day outdoors can feel as holy and life-giving as the very waters of Baptism. Thanks be to God. 
  4. God invites us to pause. Each day, we are given the gifts of sunrises and sunsets, yet we don’t notice when they show up in our daily lives and routines. We need time set apart to reorient ourselves to the magic of pausing to breathe, see, and witness the beginning and end of each day. May we seek to make it so. 
  5. Each of us is worthy of rest. Being human means needing rest. Sabbath belongs in our weeks and days and lives just as often as drinking water and connecting with friends does. God rested, and it was good. 

I am counting down the days until I find myself surrounded by rocks and trees and blue sky that stretches far beyond my vision again. I am so grateful for our group of 13 and the laughs we had, the stories we shared, and the questions we asked. The College-Aged Grand Canyon Pilgrimage of 2021 will stay in my heart for now and always. Thank you, college students, for wrestling with rest and engaging your own curiosity. I am better for knowing each of you. 

For more photos from the PHPC College-Aged Grand Canyon Pilgrimage, click here for the Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/153345526@N08/albums/72157719314822284/page1 

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