My sunrise hike up Cathedral rock a few weeks ago inspired me. “What else have I been putting off that I want to do?” I asked myself the question and immediately the thought of visiting Antelope Canyon popped in my head. Ever since I’d seen this natural marvel with its sinuous curves of red, yellow, and purple sandstone in a travel magazine years ago I’ve had a craving to experience it for myself.

However, as often happens, excuses got in the way. It is a 5 1/2 hour drive north of Phoenix. There are only certain times of year when you are guaranteed a tour, as any threat of rain within miles causes closure. Being in a canyon carved out by flash floods is a bad idea when it is flooding! I used cost, time, effort, etc. all as excuses. And every year I reached the rainy season regretting I had not taken the journey. I realized that the last weekend in June was my only window of opportunity. I still didn’t know how I would fit 11 hours of driving into a two day trip and enjoy it, so I sat down, prayed, and waited for the answer. 

An easy answer soon became obvious. I threw my stuff in the car and took off after work on Friday driving the first three hours to Flagstaff, AZ where I slept in the cheapest motel I could find. It was clean and did the job. I was up before sunrise the next morning to continue on my journey. I got my “Kicks on Route 66” as the song goes before it turned into Highway 89 and continued onward to Page. I took a little unintended detour but that will be the subject of another story!

Once in town I headed straight for “Ken’s Tours” of Lower Antelope Canyon. A quick five minute walk with our guide to the canyon entrance had us standing at the top of a steep set of steel steps. Descending into the deep red-orange slot in the rocks I felt as if I was being embraced by the spirit of our Mother Earth herself. Our young Navajo guide played the flute in the first echoing chamber as we ooh’ed and ahh’ed over the beauty evident from every angle. The views just kept getting better. We stepped carefully on the sandy twisting path that led us in and out of some of the most beautiful rock formations I have ever seen in my entire life. I snapped photos rapidly, not sure I could even begin to capture the wonder of it all. The warm embracing earth and the energy of the water that carved out this amazing place filled me with a sweet, peaceful hum. I was in heaven.

Later that day I took the Upper Antelope Canyon tour I had booked. It too was breathtaking, but out of a love for the first tour in Lower Antelope Canyon, I returned for another. My late afternoon trip into this Canyon was accompanied only by another young guide, and three tourists. The silence, solitude, and beauty was overwhelming, and due to the time of day, the rocks which had been glowing red, orange, and yellow in the earlier daylight were now turning deep shades of crimson and purple. The earth embraced us, as only a mother can, and I emerged from the canyon as if I was being birthed once again by the forces of nature that shape our planet and shape our hearts as well.

Still filled with energy, I decided that a sunset trip to Horseshoe Bend – a scenic overlook high up over Glen Canyon and just ten minutes from town – would be the the perfect ending to an amazing day. Had I been slightly crazier I might have slept out on the rocks, under the stars, but a scorpion darting away from my hiking boots on the trail back convinced me the motel might be a better option! The next day I broke up the long drive back into two segments by starting early and resting in Sedona on the way home. I could not believe I had used thge long driving time as an excuse to put off this beautiful journey for so many years!

So the next time you find yourself longing to do something but making excuses, pray. Ask God and the angels for insight as to how you might make it happen. Trust the timing. And when you have the urge, act upon it. When the urge hits me, I will no longer be saying, “I’ll do that some day.” I will no longer be making excuses when I really want to make something happen. I have experienced too much beauty, grace, and wonder the past few weeks to put off my life one moment longer. 

There are dreams that take more time than I have at the moment. There are dreams that take money I do not yet have. There are dreams I know I will want to do at some point but am not urgent about now. But I do know, that when the desires in your heart are planted there by God, water them with your acknowledgment. Shine the sun of your “yeses” upon them. And then when the desires ripen and turn into hungers, urges, and urgency, pluck them from the tree of life and make them happen. God will show you the way! Some day? How about now?

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