Yesterday, the exit ramp I took on my way home was overflowing with traffic. The lane that veered off the interstate was filled nearly to the point of backing into the lanes of traffic that were continuing north. I was listening to some lovely music, pondering my day, and waiting for my turn. Despite the traffic, it was a peaceful moment.
Looking toward the west, I took in the beauty of the setting sun. Puffy cotton ball clouds blanketed the sky and slowly turned tropical shades despite the freezing temperatures outside. It was a delight to just gaze at the beauty I saw splashed generously across the sky. I couldn’t help but think that if it wasn’t for the obnoxious traffic, I wouldn’t have had the time to just ponder the sky. Closest to the horizon the sky was a fiery orange tinged with pink and further away the clouds took on a more somber hue.
It was cold outside. The sun’s setting seemed far too early. It had been a long day. There was still so much of the week to go. But, Lord, thank You for this moment of beauty, this moment of peace.
It made me think of something I had seen on Facebook one time regarding the snow. The post said, “If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life but the same amount of snow.” It is simple and yet a needed reminder that gratitude is the appropriate way to approach life. The traffic situation seemed to apply as well. If I choose to not find joy in traffic, I still have the traffic but not joy. So I looked up and saw something to be grateful for as I waited. God was casually displaying beautiful art during the evening commute. And I sought to soak it up this time instead of sink into my own world.
This perspective of gratitude keeps making itself known to me. The past two times that I have visited prison, I’ve been asked what the weather is like outside. As it gets colder, the prisoners often have rec time inside and there are few chances to go outside. While the cold can be invigorating, I sometimes just find it annoying and an inconvenience. Yet when faced with people who literally want a breath of fresh air, regardless of its temperature, I find I need to continually remind myself that the air that nips at me is a gift. Instead of a heart filled with complaints, I want to receive each change in weather as a gift to experience.
Regardless what comes, may the Lord find us praising Him. In the midst of the cold, may we be grateful. In the midst of traffic, may we be thankful. In the midst of tiredness, may we catch a glimpse of God boldly crashing into our life to overflow it with His fullness.
Every shower and dew, bless the Lord.Canticle of Daniel (Daniel 3)
All you winds, bless the Lord.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord.
Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord.
Frost and chill, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord.
Nights and days, bless the Lord.
Photo by: my father
(I wrote the post and he texted me the picture asking if it was the sunset I was referring to. Indeed, it was. So lovely!)