Today was a hazy day with wispy clouds high in the sky. Unseasonably warm temps coaxed Jack and I to the beach for an outdoor prayer time, a special treat. Walking the waveless waterline in bare feet was surely wading on borrowed time.
When we left the beach to run errands, I glanced back to appreciate the view. “The sunset will be beautiful tonight with these streaky clouds,” I told Jack.
Hours later I was taking advantage of a senior citizen day at the nearest Kohl’s (22 miles away) and noticed a pinkish light streaming through the windows and across the clothing racks, a wildly colorful sunset going on just across the parking lot.
Heading for the windows with an armload of clothes, I marveled at the magnificent view. Amazingly, the crowd pushing hangers back and forth nearby was unaware of the light show outside.
Watching pink, blue, purple and gold layers ripple across the sky like theater floodlights, I knew God was doing something spectacular, so dug in my purse for the camera I always carry. When I couldn’t find it, I wondered how I could ever “save” the sunset without it.
Before I could figure that out, though, the colors began to fade, and the opportunity was gone.
As I walked to the fitting room, I couldn’t figure out why my spirits were so low. What was there to be sad about? The bargains were good, the selection was great, time was ample and I’d just enjoyed a gorgeous sunset. What bothered me was my inability to get a picture. Without the picture, I had no evidence of what I’d just seen.
As expected, none of the clothes looked good on me, because my heart wasn’t in it. While driving home, I thought about the sunset and realized I’d been more concerned about getting the picture than seeing the actual sunset. And immediately I thought of Nate. Last night I’d gotten lost in my photo albums until well past midnight. Every picture with Nate in it had become a treasure, because of course there will be no more taken.
And that’s what was bothering me.
A photo can’t hold a sunset any more than a picture could have held Nate. But my thoughts said, “You should have taken more pictures. He’s gone now. You squandered your chances.” I recognized this as the quiet voice of mourning. Although I’ve been feeling better lately, I knew the old sense of sadness could bubble up at any time.
It’s at moments like this that God’s promises of heavenly reunions move in and lift us. “Looking at” the mental picture of reconnecting with loved ones is enough to obliterate negative self-talk and put bright hope in its place. Although I have no photos of heaven in my albums, those glorious reunions are worth trying to “see”.
I can’t post a current picture of Nate, nor can I show one of tonight’s sunset or of a heavenly reunion. But having no pictures can’t negate the wondrous reality of all three.
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1)