Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Shorter Bucket List

Days 11 and 12 (Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1)

When I was a boy in Sunday School at the First Methodist Church in Robstown, Texas, our Sunday mornings always began with all the children crowded into a small room in the basement. There, the wonderful women who were the "mothers" of the church--Mrs. Langley, Mrs. Veselka, Mrs. Harper, and Mrs. Hefte--would teach us hymns we should learn by heart.

I remember the verses printed on chart tablets hung from a rack just like the one we had at school, and we would sing the same songs each week so we could memorize them.  We learned songs like "Jesus Loves Me" and our favorite, "The Church in the Wildwood," most popular with the fifth grade boys who would try to croak out the bass part with their changing voices!

Some of those hymns we learned have played over in my head during the past couple of days...

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise!

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale and tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of night
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise!

...and then this one...

This is my Father's world
And to my listening ear
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the sphere
This is my Father's world
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas
His hand the wonders wrought

...and, of course...

Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed...

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art!  How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art!  How great Thou art!

I'm thankful that those women impressed the lyrics of those hymns on my heart and in my mind so many years ago, so that the words would be there for me these past few days to accompany all I have seen and heard.

Visiting the Grand Canyon was definitely a "bucket list" item for me, something I had to see in person before I "kicked the bucket."  It met every expectation!  The weather was chilly and the wind was strong, blowing 35 miles an hour on Saturday...but that did not deter us from enjoying a nice, long stay there, shooting photos and just taking in the enormity of it all.

The National Park Service statistics show that over 4.4 million people visited the Grand Canyon in 2012, so our experience was by no means unique.  What can be said about a place that so many have seen for themselves, in person, photo, or film?  What stories can be told that haven't been shared time and again?  What photograph can be taken that would not be some version of many others that have come before?

Keeping that in mind, I'll restrain myself from oversharing...except for one photo, since this particular shot has never been taken at the Grand Canyon...

(...with my apologies for making an exception to our self-imposed rule of few to no "selfies" from this trip...).

Tomorrow--Sedona...Later--Palm Springs

Happy Sunday,

1 comment:

  1. Loved your post and how I sing those hymns over and over and what memories they bring to me every time they enter my mind---thoughts of days at Robstown FUMC and MYF and all the fun times growing up in Robstown. Thanks for stirring those memories anew. Love to you and enjoy you trips! Zula