Connection between beauty and the divine seen during travel
By Jill Kruse-Domeyer
Witness Editorial Assistant
There’s a quote I once stumbled across on the internet that’s attributed to 19th-century writer Ralph Waldo Emerson — “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful,” it says, “for beauty is God’s handwriting.” I don’t know if Mr. Emerson ever actually uttered those words or not, but the quote came to mind recently after returning from a six-day trip to the Canadian Rockies, a place where beauty was to be found in great abundance.
It was my honeymoon that brought me to Canada this September. My husband, Brian, and I were married earlier this year and chose Banff National Park in Alberta as our honeymoon destination since both of us are nature lovers and enjoy hiking and thought it would be the perfect place for us to spend some time in the great outdoors. We were not disappointed.
With its majestic mountain peaks and its turquoise colored lakes, Banff is the type of place that truly takes your breath away. While there, I found myself using words like “amazing” and “stunning” over and over again, as I tried my best to describe the scenery around me, but no words proved adequate in capturing the beauty. With each spectacular view I saw, each more magnificent than the last, all I could think was, “Wow, God, you made a beautiful world!” His handwriting, his handiwork, left me in awe.
But the natural environment wasn’t the only place we experienced beauty. There were many other examples of it, one being the people we encountered on our trip. Banff is a popular tourist destination, and people travel from all over the world to see the scenery there. We met fellow tourists from every corner of the globe, representing a large variety of races and nationalities and speaking numerous languages. There was a beauty in seeing the incredible diversity of God’s humanity.
And there was beauty too in experiencing the welcome and hospitality displayed by the local Canadians to all of us tourists, as well as the friendliness shown by our fellow travelers to each other. Everyone was helpful, offering to take your picture here by this scenic view or by that one. Even when a common language didn’t exist or was limited, it became clear that kindness could be expressed in a way universally understood. It was a reminder that there is still good in people, despite what the nightly news may lead one to believe, and we can be nice to one another even when we’re different from each other. And it was beautiful to witness that firsthand.
There were other beautiful aspects of our trip as well. The opportunity to spend some time alone with my new husband and make new memories with him — there was beauty in that. And when we left the hectic gift shops in the resort town we were visiting and stole away for a few minutes to the quiet of a local Catholic Church — there was peace, some time with Jesus; there was beauty in that. The examples of beautiful moments, experiences are endless.
My recent trip to Canada reminded me that beauty is all around us. One need not leave the country to see it or experience it; beauty is even present, maybe especially so, in the everyday and the ordinary, but sometimes it requires a change of scenery — like a horizon full of 10,000-foot mountain peaks — to open our eyes to that fact and to make us more attuned. God’s handwriting surrounds us. I continue to be in awe.
Jill Kruse-Domeyer and her husband, Brian Domeyer, are pictured during their visit to Moraine Lake at Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. (Contributed photo)