Jeremy and I just got back from a week in the land of fire and ice. Inspired by beautiful photos and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Jeremy suggested a new vacation locale, and we booked this trip on a whim less than two months ago.
Those two months were very busy. We were both working overtime and trying to balance too many things, so I counted down the days to a getaway. I told myself I needed to clear my mind, to have the space to think about the future and to have deep conversations and quality time with my husband after weeks of passing like ships. I needed to not think about politics or the state of our country or career choices or emails or social media or to-do lists.
Turns out, I did need all those things (and I got them), but the thing I truly needed, and found, was much better.
Author Hannah Kent wrote, "I do think people can have a spiritual connection to landscape, and I certainly did in Iceland."
I echo that sentiment.
I didn't make any big life decisions or have a profound epiphany in our five short days in Iceland. But I experienced a spiritual wonder that settled my soul.
I rode in the passenger seat as we drove for hours on winding roads flanked by epic mountains and rugged lava fields. I stood at the base of a glacier and wondered at the free-form patterns made in the packed ice by the water runoff. I closed my eyes and listened to the roar of mighty waterfalls and opened them to see rainbows reflecting across the water. Icelandic horses wandered through the fields outside our cabin window as I drank my morning coffee. They seem noble with sure-footed gaits, but also like unruly teenagers with their thick, shaggy manes and playful banter. I marveled at the intensity of the blue ocean. The cold, north Atlantic waters were a deeper, richer blue than I have ever seen, and as we stood on top of peaks and alongside fjords, the water seemed to stretch forever.
The grandeur seemed to minimize my daily struggles. I was so awestruck by the wonder of a God who could create such a place. If he can make a planet so diverse, powerful, and beautiful, how much greater will the next world be?
It was the best possible vacation. One that not only provided more "me" time, but also more worship time. More time to simply stand in awe of God. No agenda. No schedule. No questions to answer or problems to solve. More of HIM in the world around me; less of me and my daily concerns, comparisons, complaints. Although, I can't deny that I also received one of the most enjoyable weeks of my life and some memories that I want to keep forever.
I don't have to travel to Iceland to experience this kind of wonderment. I want to find time in my daily life to simply allow myself to be awed by the God that loves me. Not to try to do something or accomplish something or solve a problem or fix my flaws. There is a place for all of those things, but it is amazing the kind of soul-soothing, mind healing peace that comes in just pausing and looking around and worshiping God because He deserves it.
But on a very practical note, I'm convinced that you, too, should go ahead and buy a ticket to Iceland because I guarantee you will have a blast. :-)