Gloria Gaither on Unscripted Moments
By Gloria Gaither
There is a certain thing that can happen in a one-night concert in an auditorium or arena, and Bill and I have been sharing such evenings with beautiful people all over the world for more than fifty years. We have seen many a cold sports center or city venue turned into a cathedral by the presence of the Lord.
But there is something quite different that can happen when a group of seekers travels together for a whole week, bumping into each other over breakfast, experiencing a salmon bake in the pine woods by a cold spring-fed stream or being reduced to silence by the magnitude of a glacier. Or how about smelling the pristine waters where blue icebergs float by just a few feet away carrying a family of seals? Some of my most memorable conversations have “just happened” in a little Russian Orthodox church in Sitka or while standing at the ship’s rail listening to the once-in-a-lifetime sound of a glacier “calving.”
I have to admit that Alaska is my favorite trip. Maybe that is because I grew up in Michigan where there were logging villages in the Upper Peninsula and cold rivers where the Coho salmon climbed the “ladders” to fight their way upstream. I guess that may have been where I learned to love those who are willing to swim upstream against the current of common opinion. I love the hardiness of people toughened and tempered by weather and sometimes the struggle to conquer the elements and survive.
For whatever reason, there is a certain thing that happens when the family of God gets away from the pressures of dulling routine to sail to a place where we are once more reminded of what God had in mind when He created the beautiful, unspoiled wilderness and gave it to us to enjoy and preserve.
I look forward again to being surprised by a waterfall as the ship sails round a bend in the waterway or seeing a pod of orcas playing like children in the icy waters. Most of all I look forward to both solitude and community—to listening to the “still small voice” as well as having coffee with old friends I’ve never met.