Last week, I read in a book for our book club, that Immanuel Kant, the 18th century German philosopher, believed that when reason and experience fall short; the vacuum can be filled with faith. This statement resonated with my view of the word “faith”. Oddly, Kant’s belief became even more palpable on a road trip to Arizona few days ago.
I spent last week at one of the most bewildering places on earth: Sedona and Grand Canyon. Both are among the few places that I’ve visited and gasped. Not because of the high elevation, but for their majestic and mesmerizing views. I had the privilege to spend time with my father during this short visit, as we also wanted to visit my older sister who lives in Arizona. After being impounded at home for over a year, dad and I embarked on this springtime adventure.
On our day trip to Grand Canyon, we used Siri, our phone’s AI (Artificial Intelligence), to help us navigate there. On the way there, the instructions were quite simple, the road easy to drive, and we even ran into my dear college friend and her husband at the park. Talk about divine synchronicity! With the sun shining brightly, with few white clouds, and pleasant temperatures; we lost track of time.
It was about six pm and we had close to two hours to reach our hotel. I assumed the two-lane highway will be easy enough for me to drive at dusk. So, I asked Siri to help us get to our hotel. All was great, until we left the main road to the Grand Canyon National Park. Still hypnotized by this natural wonder, I did not realize Siri is taking us back from a different route. Next thing I know, is we are driving on secluded one lane road, with the view of a beautiful snow-covered mountain. We were surrounded by tall pine, oak, and some birch trees, few meadows, and no civilization at sight. All nature, no cars, just dad and I on a lonely road with sun setting quickly.
Now, I consider myself quite adventurous, especially if I know exactly where I am going. But being in an unfamiliar place in the middle of nowhere, with a senior, close to dark on a single lane road, with no other cars around, somehow made me quite nervous. What was Siri thinking??? Why couldn’t it take us back the same way we came??
Trying hard not to show my concern, instead of enjoying the amazing view, my mind’s chatter box started its dirty work: "What if dad needs medical help?"; "What if we have a flat tire?"; "What if the car breaks down?" "What if a deer or wild animal runs in front of our car?" Oh My God…I was letting all these thoughts eat me alive.
Then, something magical happened…a song…a simple song, smacked me in the head. It helped me herd all the crap my silly mind had unleashed back into their place. I could almost hear the silly thoughts nagging while being pushed back in their place, like drunkards being pushed out of a bar.
Bob Marley’s “Every Little Thing’s Gonna be Alright”, was the shepherd dog that helped me gather up the chatters and focus on the beauty of this beautiful road. (https://youtu.be/wYCpWblDKok). The stillness of the road as it unfolded, while hearing Bob telling me not to worry, somehow removed all fear and doubt, and allowed me to truly enjoy that absolutely gorgeous road. We reached our hotel before it was pitch dark and talked about that long and less-traveled road that night.
M. Scott Peck who wrote the book “The Road Less Traveled” shares: “We cannot be a source for strength unless we nurture our own strength.” So often, we forget to nurture our strength and allow reason or past experiences take over our minds. But if, only if, we allow faith to do its job of filling the gap when reason and experience fail; we may find our way home. Life is FOR me and I am pretty sure it intended for us to see that beautiful scenery at sunset. Forever grateful!