If I lived someplace other than NW Washington, where we only get about 59 days of sun a year, I would have watched that sun rise this morning. Such an event is definitely worth noting because it's an event far from common in my life. When I was tumbling out of bed at 4:45 with a headache in full blaze, I was encouraged to think I might watch the sky color up, so to speak. Alas, in the darkness I couldn't tell there were clouds. The last couple of days here have been beautiful, ripe with the promise of spring, and just enough clouds so that the sunsets have been magnificant. Just before stepping into the car to run an errand with Beve and the pups a couple days ago, I took a photo of the brilliantly streaked sky, but didn't manage to save it. Beve said, "Don't worry, there are plenty more where it came from." It's true--many nights during the spring and summer, we step out onto our front patio to watch the colors glow across the bay in reflection of the setting sun. It never gets old to me, God's creative spectacle at the end of day. I'm grateful we live oriented toward it. Maybe it's because many more days just fade from gray to black where we live. Maybe, if I lived in some tropical paradise in the Pacific, my reed-roofed bungalow facing west, I'd get used to--tired of!--the reds, pinks, purples of a setting sun. It's true that even the most amazing thing can become ordinary, routine, after while.
I was thinking about this the other day, as I watched Beve talk to someone. That person commented on his beautiful silver hair, and I had a bit of a start. I've been teasing him for months about his gray hair. See, last summer, when we were filling out forms to get fingerprinted, we had to describe ourselves physically. For hair color, Beve wrote, "brown." Brown? In his head, maybe his hair seems brown, but ON it, it's definitely salt and pepper. But until that person commented on how thick and beautiful that hair is, I hadn't really noticed. Then last night at dinner, as we were talking about the French Foreign Legion (don't ask!), when Beve said maybe he'd sign up, I told him he was too old. And one of our kids said, "If he dyed his hair, he'd pass for young enough." And then I really looked at him--at his perfectly smooth, unwrinkled, un-baggy face, and thought, "Oh my gosh, he's beautiful." See, I don't really look at Beve very often. Sure, I notice his clothes (especially the days when I can't believe he put a certain combination together!), and I can tell if his arthritis is hurting him, but to really look, to pay attention to the created Image of God glory that he is--I just don't do this. Any more than I'd probably notice the colors of the rising and setting sun if I actually saw them daily.
And I think I'm like this in many ways. I've been so caught up in me lately, I've been walking around in the grayness of a cloudy day, not really looking at anyone or anything except my own sorry self. And that, my friends, is the sorriest thing of all. To only see the world out of my own eyes? To expect everyone around me to notice me, make allowances for me, to care for me--it's my worst self in living color. The truth is, I'm never more my real self than when I'm so busy caring for others that I don't have time to think about me. When I'm consumed by, exhilarated by, awed by what God is doing in others' lives--when I'm actively engaged in those lives--Beve's, my kids', whoever!--that I am the least of my concerns. That's where He wants to get me--all of us--to. Pulling us out of the clouds, so we can see all of His created glory--human beings, most of all--spread out in front of us.
Only that day dawns to which we are awake, Thoreau said. Lord, help me wake up.