Rachel and I just got back from our very first trip to the Southwest.

The main reason for the trip was to visit some good friends of ours, the Smith family, in Phoenix, AZ. Here’s a picture of the group of us together after church at Living Faith Anglican Church in Tempe, AZ, where my friend Peter Smith is the rector.

 

The trip was a blast. It was great to catch up with the Smiths and to see their new home and church in Arizona.

Plus, we got to go hiking at (1) Saguaro Lake,

 

(2) Cathedral Rock in Sedona,

 

and (3) the South Kaibab Trail at the Grand Canyon.

 

(That last photo is my favorite from the entire trip. Thanks to the random guy on the trail who took it for us!)

Having never been to the Southwest before, I was frequently overwhelmed by the beauty of the views and the landscape. At certain points, it didn’t even feel real.

However, something else struck me about the views and the landscape: the combination of danger and beauty.

At the Grand Canyon, this was especially obvious when we considered how high above the canyon floor we were during our hike. However, even when we weren’t sitting or standing on a precarious ledge, even when we were standing on flat ground, we were still in the middle of the desert! Without food, water, shelter, and transportation, the beautiful landscape would have made short work of us.

This has me thinking about the relationships between beauty, safety, and danger in other areas of life.

We’d love it, wouldn’t we, if the most beautiful things/experiences were always safe. But they aren’t.

There’s frequently risk and danger involved in life’s most beautiful and meaningful experiences.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we ought to live life recklessly, with no concern for the risks and dangers involved!

But it is a good reminder that we are, perhaps, more concerned with safety and risk-mitigation than God is.

Do you have any examples of dangerous, risky beauty in your own life? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

P.S. If you’d like to see the rest of the photos we took on our trip, go here.