Last week our skies in much of Nassau County were treated to a most vivid rainbow after hours of drenching rain. Hundreds of photos were posted online as people rejoiced in this unexpected beauty. The evening was topped off by a stunning sunset.
Rainbows and sunsets are fleeting moments of beauty that make us pause and appreciate life, regardless of our personal situation. Do you have a cold? Do your joints ache? Are your kids giving you grief? Are you not being paid during the government shutdown? The skyshows aren’t going to fix any of these situations, but they call us to look beyond our immediate struggles and enjoy a moment of beauty.
But let me share a secret with you. Moments of beauty are scattered through our days. All we need to do is to pay attention. Right now I’m looking at the light coming through my window. It does that all the time though I’m not aware of its beauty unless I’m primed to do so. There’s a Johann Strauss waltz playing on the radio. I’ve stopped typing for a while to smile along. There are a pile of papers on my table — what a mess! No, there is a beauty in the pile — not only its shape and form, but its contents involve people and events of my life. These are filled with beauty, now that I’ve noticed.
Sure rainbows and sunsets pack a pizzazz that awe us, but there is beauty in rain (if nothing other than we haven’t had to shovel the precipitation this winter). I try to align my attitude with that of our Creator who, after making our world, saw that “it was very good.” Sometimes the stresses of life can have us living with a negative soundtrack playing in our soul which leads to negativity flowing from our mouths. What if we followed God’s lead in seeing the goodness and beauty of creation? And this is most important in seeing the goodness in the people around us, for people are God’s most beautiful work.
Yet people, especially those closest to us, can be so annoying that we are blinded to their beauty. We lose our patience with them because they frustrate us. And while we often pray for better self control, a more effective prayer is to ask to see the person the way God does. That way we’ll not get ourselves out of sorts over the small stuff.
Take the example of a toddler who, while sitting in their high chair at dinner time, delights in dropping a spoon on the floor over and over again. One parent reacts by playing along. “Oh look! you dropped your spoon!” Laughter ensues again and again. The other parent loses it. “Will you stop throwing your spoon on the floor! It’s not a toy!” The same behavior yields two rather different reactions. One parent sees the fun and beauty of a baby playing, the other can’t see anything but annoyance.
I don’t know whether there will be another rainbow or sunset in tonight’s sky. But I do know that I won’t wait for a skyshow to praise God for the beauty that surrounds me right now.