Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Winter Sunset Promises A Summer Day

A mid November sunset fades across the horizon, pulling color out of the day. As the last rays of oranges and pinks surrender to the twilight, only blue is left to paint the hills. Soon enough, it too will give way to black night.

Still, for a few short, calm moments, that cold blue dominates the landscape. As it coats the forests and the fields, the houses and the highways, it reminds us all that, not only is another day giving in but so is another season. It is all too clear that the brief and brilliant colors of fall have finally turned loose. As they go, the promise of a long winter’s nap – something so perfect and planned in the economy of nature – is even closer now than it was at sunrise.

Yet, while the cold blue of a November sunset tells of chilly days ahead, we can take solace in knowing the earth is merely sleeping. It rests beneath a winter’s blanket for now, so that it can warm us under summer skies later.

Yes indeed, summer comes back. It always has. It always does. And sparkling greens and warm blues and reds and oranges and yellows and busy bees and honeysuckle and smells and sounds come with it. All are well rested.

Surely every season testifies to the fact that, sometime, somewhere in our future, there will be a land of eternal light. There will be endless days of warmth where the four-leaf clovers practically find us and the colors of the landscape are all new -- special colors the Creator has reserved for “some glad morning” in the “Sweet Bye and Bye.”

Until then, He gives us sunsets … as well as sunrises. Until then, He gives us fall, winter, spring and yes, summer. Together, they all teach us about passing times and changing seasons; about life and death, warmth and cold, sunburns and frostbites; cold mornings and warm evenings. We experience it all in our lives and in nature itself. Everyday, at dawn and dusk, God tells us that, for everything, there is a season.

So, as a mid November sunset fades across the horizon, pulling color out of the day, it should also put a promise into our heart.

The promise of glory …
The promise of tomorrow …

Bubbles in the breeze...

In just an instant, there were bubbles everywhere.

With a little help from a battery-operated bubble-making machine, my two-year old was more than capable of filling the backyard with hundreds of those shiny, sudsy spheres.

Yet the bubbles – lighter than air and with absolutely nothing to hide – found no strength in numbers, especially in the face of a late April breeze. As soon as they were created, they were pushed by the gentle winds. Many collapsed under the pressure from this unseen source, disappearing as quickly as they had arrived.

Sure, a few bubbles overachieved, and rode the breeze, at least for a while. Some of those went as far as the oak tree by the propane tank, but most hit the side of the car or were simply driven to the ground. All they left behind was a soapy sheen on the rocks; the only remnant of their existence, and one that would soon evaporate in the sun and wind.

Yet, the little blonde-haired bubble-maker remained undaunted by the fragile state of the floating spheres. She continued to fill the backyard air with bubbles and giggles. In fact, I think her knowledge of the bubbles’ fragile state even heightened her desire to create them. Bubble after bubble, smile after smile, she proudly continued on, with wide eyes and happy feet.

From my perch in a nearby lawn chair, I couldn’t help but smile as I watched her manufacturing so much of her own joy, which seemed so easy for her to do. Soon, I tried to focus in on one small part of that joy – one bubble – from its creation to its demise, against the side of my car. In all, it “lived” (for lack of a better term) for about 15 seconds.

As I watched its fragile life pass before my very eyes, I was reminded of the words of Psalm 103: “The wind blows over it, and it is gone” writes the Psalmist in verse 16. “And its place remembers it no more.”

Stacked up against eternity, our earthly existence is like a bubble in the breeze. Yet, still, we ARE created. Our very existence is fashioned by a Creator who knows our frailty; a Creator who sees right through us; a Creator who made us to shine for His pleasure, and a Creator who finds great joy in His Creation. Again and again.

Let’s pray we find just as much joy, and value, in having been created.

The Mutt and Me

Our paths crossed early in the morning; in the middle of a shady spot on a side street. I was in my car, driving to work. He was on his four paws, sauntering across the road, headed who knows where.

For just a moment, it was easy to envy him. He was obviously setting his own pace and charting his own path. Most impressive though, he was oblivious to my presence.

On the other hand, I was running late and thus, neither my time nor my pace were really my own. As for MY path? Well, that was all too familiar. I had to steer around him, but otherwise, my car could have probably driven itself to the office.

But if there had been time, I might have stopped to pet that mutt. (And I use “mutt” in the most affectionate and accurate way possible. After all, mutts were the dogs of my youth.) If time had allowed, I might have parked the car, patted his head, pulled his ears, and engaged in a meaningful, though one-sided, conversation with a mutt, right there in the middle of a shady spot on a side street 

Unfortunately, what might have been yielded to what had to be, and we went our separate ways.

I spent that day in climate-controlled air, under artificial light. He probably spent the day in a cool, dark spot, under a porch somewhere.

Event mutts have it pretty good sometimes.