What is it about New Mexico that calls to me?
Surely it is more than the memories of 22 family vacations in the historic mining town of Red River.
Could it be the combination of sights and sounds that provide a sensory experience each day?
- The pine scent of tall trees, dressed in breath-taking greens
- A chipmunk daring me to hold out another handful of peanuts so he can stuff his cheeks
- Hummingbirds dive bombing for a bit of sweet nectar
- Aspens clapping their leaves in fluttering applause
- The babbling river that cleanses both the stream and the sediment of my soul
Although my family vacations in Red River, Santa Fe and Taos are my favorite Southwest cities with their terracotta textures, the diversity of their people and the history of fine art.
It is no wonder Georgia O’Keefe chose this land to live in, to find solace in painting its various colors and tones.
Yet this year, I needed the mountains in a new way. Before we climbed into the van for the eight-hour trip, God instructed me that the object of my vacation was to follow the words of Psalm 46:10.
“Be still. Rest quietly. Wait patiently for God.”
As we drove over the last summit and looked below at the town’s quiet repose, I knew it would be a special vacation – a gifting of rest.
Although seven of our family members bunked together in a condo, I purposely made time for solitude. Every morning, I carried my mug of hot tea and feasted for precious minutes with the divine One.
In the wonder of worship, I sat beside the river and entreated God to replace the murkiness of my soul with clarity and fresh intimacy with him.
I looked upward at the mountain crest – my mountain – at the crevasse carved there, as if God had dipped his hand in it during the second day of creation.
His signature of intense power. A reminder for generations of pilgrims that only God could create such grandeur yet dare to be personally involved in our lives.
God rarely spoke during these morning vistas as we quietly sat together and enjoyed the cool air. As we communed in silence, I embraced the beauty of solitude and the intimacy of being in his presence without speech.
Once again, I breathed deeply of the spiritual fervor of New Mexico, forgot the trials and burdens I left behind and gratefully received the solace God offered.
New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment, but for me – it is the healing irony of mountains and desert, Native Americans and Hispanics, turquoise and coral – somehow blended into a symphony of texture and diversity that rises in a spiritual explosion of praise.
How sweet to experience how it also became a quiet haven for individual retreat where I once again learned to be still and acknowledged that He is God.
©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G trilogy
This post first appeared on “Travel Light,” by SuZan Klaasen.