Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Milford Sound

When I pictured New Zealand I thought of Milford Sound. To me this is the quintessential Kiwi attraction to visit. After we decided we would live into our lifetime travel bucket-list early in our marriage, NZ became our #1 country to visit. If I am really honest with myself, it was Milford Sound that I had in my head the entire time we planned the trip. I longed to stand right here:

Photo taken from mstecker.com

We saved 4 days in our two week journey to wander Fiordland National Park so that we could fully embrace the wondrous landscape that we ached with every fiber of our being to experience. This was the place we wanted to spend the bulk of our trip and we could not wait to get there.

However, when we arrived, this is what we saw:

It didn't just rain the entire time we were there, they had to close down the main road to get to Milford because they had gale force winds and flooding. Trees were down and rivers were raging. Camping was impossible so we slept in the car. Our kayak adventure was canceled because safety wasn't even on the table. We couldn't even hike in the rain because our shoes (though waterproof) could not hold back the surge of rainwater pouring off our gear and we had no place for them to dry. It was cold. It was wet and worst of all...we couldn't SEE anything because the fog wrapped the sound in a blanket of white.

Initially, there was really only one authentic reaction that I could muster and it was utter disappointment. This was my dream trip. It also turned out to be the all time most expensive trip, maybe even thing, I've ever paid for. I flew across the planet because I wanted to experience THIS sound and it was overwrought with a tropical storm.

This was the time, if there ever was one, to practice what I preach. I had to let go of my expectations. What was God providing in this moment? What could I be grateful for in this situation of bucket-list sorrow?

Here's what we discovered:

In the rain, Milford Sound is a rock face covered with THOUSANDS of waterfalls. I have seen nothing like it and probably will never see anything like it as long as I travel. Water washed over it's every curve and crevasse. It was marvelous and mystical. We were in the center of a watery world of falls and I felt the blessing of that natural magic.

I wanted sunshine and photos other people had taken before. Instead I got a thousand waterfalls.