If you’ve never experienced an upper Midwest sunrise or sunset, you have truly missed out on something pretty special. The vast plains, coupled with the unobstructed views, combine to produce spectacular, sweeping paint swaths of color across an endless sky. Whatever the season, you are certain to experience the brilliance of God’s design on any given day.
When we moved to Ecuador, I found myself in the middle of the Andes mountains (hello, the middle of the Andes mountains!!) but sorely out of luck with seeing night after night views of grandiose color. Now, mountains cast shadows late in the afternoon, and sunsets often times were relegated to simple cotton candy colors reflected on clouds. Gone was the intertwining of jeweled hues and tones that I had viewed for my entire life. I had exchanged glorious sunsets for desired lofty mountain views, but not without a price. I found myself missing what I had grown accustomed to, what was comfortable, what I had taken for granted.
Perspective alert. While you can cling to the adage “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone,” I would venture to say we should strive for “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Basically, you can either dwell on the fact that you miss what you had and wallow in the past, or you can look around and see what is in front of you. Sometimes it takes intentionality to think this way, but there is beauty all around us. It just comes in different forms and may even be disguised at times.
Now, I find myself grabbing my camera multiple times during the week between 6:00 and 6:30pm. I have grown to see the beauty in variety, in newness, maybe even in the uncomfortable or challenging. While the mountain sunsets are a change from the South Dakota plains or the Minnesota lake country, they are no less beautiful, no less creative. They show a different perspective which helps me appreciate diversity even more.
And, in true God form, he lets us get to the beach every once in awhile to grasp his awesomeness in yet a different way, shown in the expanse of his universe as water, sun, and sky combine for yet another view of brilliance. I am reminded of how he wants to soothe my soul with scenes of the familiar, while seeking my obedience in walking into the unknown. Through it all, he holds my hand and shows me He is there, whether it be through the muted colors and shadows, or the tapestry of vibrant color.
He’s continually opening my eyes to seeing life in a different way. Inevitably, this means seeing people in a new light as well. He’s continually refining and changing me, and helping me to see beauty through a new lens. He’s trying to give me the eyes of Jesus, and I often resist seeing what he wants me to see. But, the perspective is changing, and he’s working on me.