Last weekend in Colorado was like one big splash of mercy on this girl’s face after a month composed of holidays, bad weather, storm damage, and the passing of my grandmother. Following a year of ups and downs altogether, I knew I needed the getaway desperately, but it wasn’t until I got out west that I realized just how much I needed it. The change of scenery – a beautiful landscape of majestic mountains, bright red rocks, and lush valley – in addition to the above average temperatures, constant sunshine, and time well spent with family and friends were a welcome breath of fresh air. I don’t think I could have timed the taking of this little vacation any better!
On the drive to the airport before my departure, my husband encouraged me to ‘be present‘ while I was away. He told me he didn’t want me to worry about him, family, friends, home, work, or the future – but to take this opportunity to escape everything for a time and focus on what is in front of me – to really live in the moment and let what would be ‘just be.’ Such necessary words. And these words of wisdom were kept close to my heart at all times while away.
My favorite day of the trip was Saturday. We hit the road late morning and went over to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater. While I had been to Red Rocks before, the others had not and since we weren’t on a schedule, we simply took our time driving and walking around the area. The park offers amazing overlooks of the hills, valleys, and even the city of Denver way off in the distance.
It’s one of those places where you just sort of get lost in the glorious beauty of what’s around you. I found myself just looking out in awe, taking it all in and feeling so blessed for the opportunity to be there. In being present, I found gratitude and peace. I let go of the things that were clouding my perspective and soaked in the simple pleasures of God’s creation and let all be well with my soul.
Following Red Rocks, we ventured up the hill to Evergreen for the rest of the afternoon. It was my first time in Evergreen, a little mountain town that boasts cafes, restaurants, shops, and even a winery. We began our adventure with a stop into Java Groove for warm, foamy lattes.
Then we walked the main street dodging into various places along the way. In being present, I found inspiration and refreshment. The kindness of shop owners, and the artistic, creative, and quaint nature of the town reminded me of the slower, more relaxed pace of life. The pace where you have time to think clearly and be transformed by what speaks to your heart. These are things that tend to get passed by as I rush from one thing to the next during my days and weeks.
While touring Red Rocks and Evergreen comprised my favorite day of the trip, spending time with my nephew was my favorite part of the weekend. Three whole days with this little guy – what a blast!
In being present, I found laughter and joy. Jace Ryan has been such a gift to this family. I am in love with this kid. He’s cute, cuddly, happy, loving, sweet, and absolutely hi-larious! I can’t get enough of his babbling and rambling; I could literally watch him walk and listen to him talk for hours. The child is a ball of entertainment. I made sure I told him every day how much I love him and how much gladness and sing-song he has brought to our lives. Precious moments that I am keeping in my heart always.
Being present brought so much good to my soul over the weekend. It occurred to me that all of us live in the tension of life as we know it now and the life we desire for the future. It’s easy to want to skip through what we’re currently experiencing and move on to the next thing. But in being present, the mind clears, the heart expands, and the body relaxes, allowing for acceptance of what is, hope for what isn’t yet, and the definition of how to bridge the two in the meantime. And that’s what I needed.
Coming home from Colorado wasn’t easy considering it’s below zero, grey, and rather flat here in the mitten. But the lessons I brought back with me are priceless. Moving forward, I am choosing to be present and taking each day as it comes. I will focus on my dreams and goals, but enjoy the journey along the way, letting God woo me with His extraordinary in the ordinary of every day life.
“Be where you are. Be who you are.”
:: Shauna Niequist ::
“Take the time to notice the things that your body and your soul are craving. … Listen to those whispering needs, and do something about them. Because that’s likely the thing that will help you not just survive in this season, but thrive.“
:: Stephanie May, The Lipstick Gospel ::