Last week, my son, Jason, and I hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for many years. It was amazing to experience the beauty and majesty of the Grand Canyon and to be able to do so with my son.
My wife thinks I’m warped, but I love a physical challenge like this. The rim-to-rim hike is about 24 miles long. From the North Rim where we started it’s a 14-mile trek with 6,000 feet of elevation drop to Bright Angel campground. We camped there for two nights before trekking out.
The climb up the South Rim from Bright Angel campground is 10 miles with a little over 5,000 feet of elevation gain. Add a 45-pound backpack to the mix and that makes the hike a bit more physical.
We thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, marveled at those who had built the trail, and met a lot of interesting people along the way. Jason and I had many great conversations and sometimes simply enjoyed each other’s company in silence. As followers of Jesus, we were in awe of His creation displayed so magnificently in the Canyon with all its varied ecosystems and beauty. And we stopped to take dozens of pictures along the way.
One phenomenon intrigued us, however. At all hours of the day or night, you’ll see runners speeding their way along the trail from rim-to-rim. Some are even attempting the near-50-mile rim-to-rim-to-rim run. Both goals are impressive, especially considering that half the run is done in the dark this time of year via headlamp.
But what’s interesting is the fact that in order to run this steep-pitched, uneven trail in the dark or daylight, the runners must focus on the placement of their feet to avoid falling or twisting an ankle. In this way, they are running through one of the seven wonders of the world, but missing all the beauty and grandeur around them!
My purpose isn’t to criticize them. If I were a few years younger, I’d be tempted to join them in their aggressive run. But I see an analogy here for us.
As I mentioned, those runners, with all their focus on the trail and the clock, miss the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, especially while running in the dark!
Sometimes we go through life like those runners. We’re so intent on striving for some goal that we miss the beauty around us. Regrettably, I confess that I’m so task-focused at times that I’m oblivious to the people around me. Only later—when it’s too late—do I realize that I missed opportunities for meaningful relationships and perhaps even lost out on God-ordained moments.
Jesus said that our primary concern in life should be on loving God and people. So, that’s where our focus should be. Sure, we all have tasks to accomplish and responsibilities to fulfill. But let me challenge us to hike through life with our eyes open to the beauty and majesty of the Lord and the people around us whom He has created.
“Lord, help me to be attentive to You and the people around me today. Let me bask in Your majesty and grandeur and represent You well to others through my life and words.”