Awareness Sunrise Sunset
“God grant that the beauty of this day will not pass me by unnoticed. Even if I am preoccupied with my own worries, let me glimpse the miracle of life moving all around me. Open my heart to see the simple joy of people going about their day, the small signs of the season flowering before me, the great arc of the sky pointing toward the wonders beyond. Remind me that my life is within life, that I already live in the eternity we call creation. Let me rest easy, worries and all, in the assurance of what you have made, a life I share with you each day, and will forevermore.”
We sit each early morning and evening and patiently look out from a balcony on the water’s edge at the gulf coast waiting for the daily natural marking of time to appear and disappear. We can follow the expansive horizon as far as the eye can see along the shore line in both directions. I hope to honor each day by watching the sunrise in the east and the sunset in the west. As I arise in the early dawn I look out to the shore to see the faintest of light. It is dark only illuminated by the moon in mid-sky. No being is stirring in either direction. We are alone. As early light develops the pods of pelicans file by flying back and forth a few feet above the sea to announce that something is getting ready to happen. The lone osprey flies high above the quiet sea also like a herald as he looks for morning’s first breakfast. The lonely great blue herring stands majestically at the water’s edge craning his neck as far as it will reach for the best view. The early dawn then changes to a faint light as a streak of intense pink appears along the horizon which then becomes a lighter pink orange as it widens and fades into the now very pale higher blue sky above it. The sky then turns into a light pale blue as that small round ball peaks its head ever so slightly above the horizon. The spectacle then begins as the bright orange light of the new day majestically fills the whole sky. The west opposite horizon briefly is light pink as it also reflects the new day. The now intense red orange brightness of the sun quickly becomes so overpowering so that we can no longer look directly at it. It is more than our eyes can take in or adjust to. The new day begins. Fishermen come out to the shoreline. Fishing boats begin to speed out to deeper waters in gulf for the catch of the day. Beachcombers, walkers, runners, then excited children walk and play along the water’s edge. This is the day God has made and we in our way rejoice.
Our day constantly changes, but for me the sunrise is a constant, a daily sign that God is always present in my life. Most often God’s brightness is like the rising sun, too great for me to comprehend. Sometimes I cannot recognize or don’t believe that God is present as in the early dawn before the light or when clouds cover the sky. These days I keep looking for signs of God’s presence, little patches of blue in the sky called “a sailor’s trousers” as we are told by those who live by the sea. My daily experience and my tradition and scripture remind me that the seemingly invisible God is still very much there.
Then this whole spectacular changes in reverse order at night at sunset as we give thanks and review our day, make any amends for what wrongs we have done so we can turn the results of this day over to God, ask and give forgiveness, and then live in the present moment of rest as we await for God in the darkness and silence to speak again.