Monday, May 24, 2021

Colors and Sunsets and Emotions and Jesus

The colors are what make a sunset beautiful.

I know. It seems like a shallow thing to say, but it made me think today.


Nothing more or less than wavelengths of light scattered around us.

But the sky is clear, you know.


I woke up this morning, and the first thing I said to God after opening my eyes was, well, here we go again.

Because another day loomed large, and I’m tired. The monotony of life is feeling heavy and overwhelming, and the kids and I are feeling it.

It's just that sometimes I get tired of taking care of things. And I know the kids do, too, because they respond very strongly to simple requests like, will you please brush your hair? Or statements like, if you pee on the floor, here are the Clorox wipes. Or informational comments like, did you know that eating hot dogs for breakfast, lunch and dinner is not a good way to take care of our bodies?

But most of our daylight hours are spent doing just that. Taking care of things. And we do it day after day after day under a sky that looks so blue.

But the sky is clear, you know.


This evening two of my boys ran off in opposite directions, both crying wailing at the unjust actions of the other. They are fighting all. the. time. these days and I feel frustrated and powerless about it. As I walked up the stairs towards one of them I said to God, well, here we go again and asked for some guidance because I am in completely over my head.

We sat on his bed and talked for a while. And when I thought we were finished I moved to the kitchen, but we weren't finished because the conversation ripped open again and we talked about it again in the kitchen. And then we moved outside to the porch swing because hard conversations always feel better in the fresh air.

We talked about relationships and kindness and humility and love. We talked about forgiveness and compassion and learning our lessons the hard way. It was messy and disjointed and heated at times, and we did it all under a sunset sky that burned with oranges and pinks and reds.

But the sky is clear, you know.

-- -- -- -- 

That night before I went to sleep I kneeled on my bed in the funny way I do, careful to position my injured foot in just the right place, and cried while I told God all about how weary and frustrated I am about this foot pain. It's been eleven months now. Two doctors, seven doctor visits, two x-rays, two MRIs, three months in a surgical boot, and I don't feel any closer to a solution now than I did eleven months ago. The tears that fell were from a deep sadness about all the things I am really starting to miss.

Hiking. Walking. Flip Flops. Actually, shoes in general. Currently I only have one pair of tennis shoes and one pair of ridiculously expensive, ugly, clog-like 'recovery shoes' that I can wear somewhat comfortably. And now that we've gone back to church I feel a little silly picking between the two of them to go with my Sunday dress.

I miss squatting down to the level of my little kids, pickle ball, biking, playing the piano for more that 20 minutes at a time. I miss swimming, I miss boating barefoot...

... and the list goes on.

What if I'm never be able to do those things again? I prayed. 

As I lay awake in the darkness, the emotions of my day cozied up to my center and sat down together. Heaviness. Overwhelm. Frustration. Powerlessness. Weariness. Worry. They spread their colors all over the canvas of my day and created a picture of chaos.

And right outside my window, the sky looked so black.

But the sky is clear, you know.

-- -- -- --

Our sky looks blue during the day because of our relative position to the sun. When the white light from the sun comes straight into our atmosphere, it scatters into a full rainbow of colors, but it's the blue wavelengths that scatter in the perfect way for our eyes to pick up.

During sunset hours the earth has shifted our position to the sun in such a way that the sun's light must travel through more atmosphere to reach us. Through the longer journey, the shorter blue waves scatter so much they eventually get lost to us, while the longer waves of red and orange and yellow power through to our eyes.

And at night the earth has shifted our position to the sun yet again. This time in a way that the sun's light cannot reach our eyes at all, and so we see black.

The point is that even though our sky is clear, our perception of what it looks like is all about our relative position to the sun. (And the amount of pollution in the air, but let's keep it simple, yeah?)

Is the sky blue or orange or black? Well, it depends on where the sun is. 

Which made me think, what if my own emotional atmosphere is clear? What if frustration and weariness and worry are just colors in the atmosphere of my soul, and could their colors be influenced by my relative position to the source of emotional light?

When Jesus Christ (or the Son, if you'd like to be punny) shines his light into my soul, it scatters into a full rainbow of colors while it travels through the atmosphere of my mortality, and those colors illuminate my perception of my circumstances.

When the flow of my day gets interrupted, is it frustrating to me, or funny? Well, maybe it depends on where my position to Jesus is. Does frustration motivate me or shut me down? Depends on where Jesus is. Does sadness help heal my wounds or keep them festering? Do my busy days taking care of things deflate my feelings of self worth or inflate them? Well, where's Jesus?

I can't figure out exactly how to tie this up here... all I know is that life seems to look different when I'm facing the Son directly verses when I'm watching Him over my shoulder.

My favorite time of the day is the sunset hour, when the sun's warmth and light are a bit more tempered by the atmosphere, when the shadows are long and the colors seem to glow. But not for my soul. For my soul, I like the kind of light that destroys the shadows and illuminates as much as possible. It's in that light that things feel much more manageable and fun.

So here's me, turning again to put Christ front and dead center in my life. Because I like that view best.

1 comment:

  1. Lindsay, this soooo speaks to my soul. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts. I love you