My Happy Place
Last week, I had my coolest Alaskan adventure yet. It wasn’t the whales breaching of Point Gustavus, or the bull moose we saw right outside of our front door in employee housing, or the most beautiful midnight sun. The most awesome thing I have experienced was a waterfall just outside the park. Sounds weird, right? With all the crazy things I see every day, how could a waterfall be the greatest thing I have experienced yet? Let me tell you- this waterfall was absolutely perfect. The waterfalls that you see in commercials and travel brochures pale in comparison to the waterfall we found on top of this huge hill that we had to trek up. It looked like it had been untouched by people, and the roaring water came down in a powerful, yet peaceful way. My friends who I went with and I quickly deemed the waterfall our “Happy Place”… we agreed that this was the place you come in your mind when you are in the dentist’s chair about to have a root canal. We stayed for over an hour, climbing on the rocks, taking cool pictures, and getting our hair wet in the deluge of the stream.
This waterfall is the coolest thing because it led me to a new realization about my faith and my prayer practices. At one point, we all spread out, and sat in quiet just taking in the serenity of the area. In the silence, I began to pray for a wide variety of things. It started as a thankfulness prayer, thanking God for the overwhelming beauty of this place. It quickly turned in to me reflecting on the people who I had encountered and the struggles that I had heard from the week. In this beauty, there is so much pain; I know that there are people around me facing really tough and difficult situations and trials. While I was in such a state of splendor from my discovery, it was a very humbling moment that brought me back to reality. In that moment, I saw the goodness that God can create, and was given hope that the people who I know are struggling can find God in the beauty that surrounds us. Also, another realization I came to was that prayer can take a different form based on the physical situation you are in. I always thought that prayer was something that needed to be in a quiet and private place where you could be focused on talking with God. In this setting, I had my eyes open and I was near other people, and yet I was so focused on what God was putting in my heart. It was cool to see another way in which prayer could be included in my daily life, which is why I am so grateful I got to visit the waterfall.
While weather (and the fact that we would have missed lunch) made us head back to the park, we all agreed that we would be back to visit the waterfall soon. While the waterfall was a perfect spot to come to prayer realizations, it made me excited to explore more places and practice this new kind of prayer. Every time I do something here I become even more and more grateful for this opportunity to be here. In the beauty of Alaska, I have grown so much in my faith, and all I want is to be able to share this with people so they can see the power of God active every day.