A few years ago, what started like a normal summer’s day…in our family, anyway, (kids at baseball practice, husband at work) ended with me trying desperately to grasp onto a tiny piece of ‘normalcy’. Midmorning, we were told the news of an unexpected tragedy. Unbelievable. Inexplicable. Devastating. Why, why, why, and again why? And then the parental ‘stuff’ enters in. How do you explain something to your kids that makes no sense to you, as an adult? And what, for goodness sake, can we possibly do or say to help ease the pain of the immediate family members that are trying to make sense of this heartbreak as they go through the same kind of pain we feel, multiplied by infinity? Sometimes hugs and prayer say more than even the wisest of words can.
As the day wore on, my restlessness caused by not knowing what to do or say reached its peak. I then picked up my camera bag, told my husband I’d be back in a little while, and drove off. In the past, sorrow has driven me to my Bible or my piano. That day, I was driven to drive – with my camera by my side. I drove for a short time, turned back toward home, and about a quarter mile from our house, saw the above scene of the sun and its reflection in a slough. Sloughs aren’t necessarily thought of as picturesque locations, but upon seeing this, I immediately stopped the vehicle and reached for my camera. Undoubtedly, it was God’s way of reaching through my anguish and reaching me that day. You see, I take thousands of photos. Many of the photos are of my children’s sporting events and other fond family memories, but the majority of them are of landscapes, trees, sunsets and the beauty of nature. Why? Because since I was young, I have been incredibly stirred by the beauty of nature. It has always brought me an appreciation for God’s creative splendor, and it has always made me feel close to Him. For many years, I wished I had the talent of painting, because pictures of God’s creation are what I would paint. Then a few years ago, it struck me that perhaps the next-best thing would be to capture those beautiful scenes with a camera.
I saw God that day. He spoke to me through His creation. I believe that God was telling me, “I’m still here,” through a breathtaking scene that only He is capable of producing. And He certainly was still there. In the midst of devastation, there was still beauty, order, peace…and God.
If it’s dark right now – pitch black, even – the sun will set tonight, rise again, and grant us its brilliant, unwavering light tomorrow. And then the next day? It will again. It’s sometimes extremely challenging to sense His presence through darkness and despair. On that tremendously difficult day, I stopped and looked in an unexpected place, and caught a beautiful glimpse of a beautiful, ever-present God. My prayer is that on your next difficult day, you will too.