This article, “The Golden Moments of Silence” struck me by its coinciding with my experience from just last week while traveling through a very majestic and picturesque part of the country. This paragraph in particular by Sarah Latimer: “This article, I hope, will inspire you to look up from the computer, smart phone, iPad, or pull out the ear buds ….” While camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota last week I was appalled at the behavior of those who drove up to scenic overlooks that jumped out of their vehicle and went to the perch and held up their smartphone on a “selfie stick” with the majestic scenery in the background, clicked a couple of times, and zoomed off. I watched as a car full of five people unloaded in front of a vast panorama of hills as far as the eye could see, without a single person taking more than a glance at it as they sought out someone to take their group photo, and then off they went. They saw it all. They had “been there, done that”.
Several times we have had campers pull up at the neighboring campsite and whip out their device and sit on the picnic table after a few quick shots of the scenery and joyously jabber out loud how they are posting them on Facebook. They said they’d make their friends envious? I’ll never forget the couple that spent close to an hour trying to find a weather forecast on their smartphone as storm clouds were overhead. Hiking through the Cathedral Spires we encountered several couples who had cameras draped around their neck with foot-long lenses. They spent so much time “looking for that shot” that of course would impress “friends” on their social media forum that they never even saw what was really before them. Once when I pulled over to observe an awe-inspiring landscape, it wasn’t long before cars slowed down to see what I was looking at, grabbing their cameras and smartphones, some stopped, got of their car, concluded “nothing here”, and off they went.
I have often stood at scenic overlooks and meditated on the words of the hymn that goes: “O 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”. And in humble adoration of what I have the privilege to experience with my five senses that God Almighty has granted me, I am grateful to be alive. This is when the weight of all the wrong turns that I have taken are lifted and I know that I can go on now, I can take another step, because, Oh Lord, How Great Thou Art! – R.T.