Earlier this month, my family and I drove to Taos, New Mexico for a little vacation. Although we had read that Taos is a beautiful and interesting place, we weren’t really sure what to expect.
In a word: it was “awesome.” I mean that not in the overused, 21st century version of the word, but in its literal sense—“awesome” as in, “inspiring awe.” I had sort of imagined New Mexico to simply be an extension of Arizona—something like the stretch from Barstow to Vegas. Yuck. And some of it was, to be honest. But as we made the gradual climb to Taos (which sits around 7,000 feet above sea level) we discovered something else altogether.
We went river rafting. We wandered art galleries. We rode horses above 12,000 feet. We hiked down to where the Red River and Rio Grande gorges converge. And we ate a bunch of bizarre and interesting food (for dessert: avocado pie), including the best hamburger I have eaten in my life—bar none. All of which we loved.
But what really took my breath away was the clouds: big, billowy, painted-on-canvas beauties like I had never seen before. Set against a deep blue sky, they seemed to go on forever. We must have taken 100 pictures of them, including at least once when we simply had to stop the car to gawk. Here’s just one of those shots that doesn’t begin to capture the grandeur we beheld:
I’ve thought about it since and I’ve come up with this theory for why the sky seemed so much bigger in New Mexico than it does here. And I think more than anything it has to do with perspective. As this picture aptly portrays, the elevation of Taos, and the flat, barren landscape to the southwest, provide an unobstructed view of the distant horizon. Add to that clear, unpolluted skies and voilà! you have a scene like the one here.
I suppose that is what God has in mind when He challenges us to rise up from our current circumstances and seek higher ground. And how do we do seek higher ground? We do it by elevating our thoughts, raising our standards, choosing to be with those who make us better and to do those things that bring us closer to God. It seems too obvious to say it, but I must: When we elevate ourselves in that fashion, we begin to appreciate the grandeur of eternity and see things as they really are—and we begin to glimpse our own divine potential.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). True enough, but when we start to emulate Him, in even the smallest degree, it’s as if we could see forever.