Alaska’s Liquid Sunshine

by | May 20, 2008 | Perspective

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” (Phil 2:14-15 NIV)

When we were planning our trip west, we couldn’t help but fall in love with the pictures of Alaska. This largest state in the US, renowned for its northern wilderness, is a haven for adventurers, hikers, and tourists alike. If placed on top of a map of the continuous United States, Alaska would touch Canada and Mexico, as well as both the Pacific AND the Atlantic Oceans. In one word it’s a HUGE state!

All of the Alaska pictures, both on the Internet and in the travel brochures, show grandiose scenery filled with sunshine. Needless to say, this is what we expected to find! Reality set in however, the moment we stepped foot on Alaskan soil. When we boarded the Alaska Marine Highway at Prince Rupert, it was raining. “No problem,” we thought, “we’re still in Canada, and it will be several more hours before we actually touch Alaskan soil. The rain will have blown over by then!”

Wrong! It was raining, pouring or drizzling the entire time we were on Alaskan soil, except for the very last two hours, as we were driving back into Canada. Where were the sun-filled, picture-perfect panoramic views promised by the ads?

One taxi driver at Ketchikan laughed when he heard our expectations. He shared with us that the most sunshine he had ever seen in his entire life in Alaska lasted a week. “Didn’t you know that we’re famous for our ‘liquid sunshine’?” he asked, rather matter-of-factly.

Liquid sunshine? No wonder the major Alaska highway is “liquid” – the Alaska Marine Highway!

Another taxi driver told us that she loved rainy weather, and she was shocked when we mentioned that where we came from we had already had almost two months of sunny, hot weather this season alone.

Mmm! Hot, sunny weather! Sounds great . . . I had better stop thinking about it!

We also noticed that Alaska’s people are either “liquid” – “Get out of my way” kind of people, or “sunshine” -“Can I be of any help”, genuine, back-breaking well-wishers. To tell the truth, so were the Yukonians (is that how you call people form the Yukon?) As well as those we encountered in British Columbia . . . Maybe this characteristic is particular to anyone living way up North???

But then I realized that I am no better. In fact I am much worse. There are days when I wake up with dragon breath and anything that comes in touch with me, whether living or not, is burned to ashes. “Get out of the way! I feel like an ice-cold liquid today. People better be not around me!”

But other days I wake up feeling like sunshine and I cannot help but love and help those around me.

The Bible encourages us to set aside our ice-cold “liquid” attitude and to always be “sunshine”. Jesus is our motto. May we continue learn from Him so that we can come to resemble Him more and more as our time grows short.

“But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.” (Col 3:8-10 The Message)

“Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night.” (Phil 2:15 The Message)

Advertisements can be deceiving, but our attitude should always be right. We should always reflect the One we are following!

P. S. Despite the constant rain, we loved every minute of our stay in Alaska. This state, with its wildernesses, rainforests and glaciers, is really out of this world. We hope someday to come back and explore it more thoroughly. We won’t forget our umbrellas, however!

Rob Chaffart


Alaska’s Liquid Sunshine