Many who will read this post know that I am from Pensacola, Florida and that relocating to Wyoming for my internship has been quite the experience for me. I am definitely a long way from home!
Back in July when I first moved here, it was only the second time I have ever taken any really long cross-country driving trip. This may not be the experience for many of you, but since my extended family lived close by when I was growing up, I missed out on that whole “Griswald Family” trek across the country each summer. And so for me (and for my sister who helped me to move), this journey where we crossed the heartland and came into the “real West” was a revelation.
We traveled for two days going nearly 900 miles, past fields of corn and pastures full of cows. Each stop along the way, we talked about how things just looked different from anything we ever grew up with in Florida. The road looked different… the trees looked different… heck, even the sky looked different!
We were both profoundly moved when we came to the part of the road where I-80 and I-76 diverge on the edge of western Nebraska and Colorado. As we took the turn it was almost as if we were entering another landscape… one that was filled with “amber waves of grain” and with a sky that seemed so big that you could become lost. Having lived in Florida for most of my life, I have been accustomed to a certain kind of scenery… the beach and the sky are lovely, and I have always felt at home there, like I played an equal part in the landscape that surrounded me.
However, this vista was so vast and expansive that I couldn’t help but feel tiny and miniscule in my existence in the presence of all that majesty. I confess that for a few moments, I wept from the sheer beauty of this place. It wasn’t that I didn’t know these places existed… I was just unprepared for how much I could feel the presence of God in this view of the landscape.
Certainly I have known beauty and splendor in the places I’ve lived… who can say that there isn’t some divine magnificence in those sugar-white beaches of Pensacola? However, what struck me most was that so often we take our surroundings for granted. We pass by the miracle of creation without a moment’s hesitation or some pause to appreciate God’s wonderful work. But on this trip… I noticed!
Psalm 26:8 says, “I love your sanctuary, Lord, the place where your glory shines.” Today, I invite you to look at the snowy mountains and the other beauty that surrounds us here. Take a quick moment today to look out your window and see God’s sanctuary… live in that space for just a few moments.
Glory be to God who created the heavens and the earth!
Jennifer Michael is the intern at Trinity Lutheran Church. She and her pug, Squishy are enjoying the Wyoming landscape and getting used to “western life”. In fact, they like it so much, her mother is convinced she might never come back to Florida!