I Don’t Take Sunsets for Granted

nh-sunsetPerhaps my family humors me by marveling when I drag them outside to view the burnt orange clouds of a sunset sky. Then again, they will often draw me outside so I will not miss a particularly beautiful sunset. I do love a picturesque sunset. I’m not obsessive. I do not go out every evening nor do I search for images on the Internet. But I do count it a blessing to enjoy God’s evening show.

To writers, sunset symbolizes the end of life.  Preachers and hymnists use sunsets to poetically describe the transition from physical life to eternal life. “Beyond the sunset” after the “resurrection morning” is the eternal day. How blessed it would be to emulate the daily sun by departing this world in beauty and serenity.

Our ancestors marked the end of activity with the departure of the sun. We can continue working and playing under the hum of electric lights bathed in the soft glow of electronic devices. Despite these artificial extra innings, the sunset brings much of earth’s activity to a brief halt. The wise reflect on the accomplishments of the day and make plans for a productive tomorrow. The people of the night can emerge for revelry. The departing rays of the sun plant the the hope for tomorrow’s sunrise.

I do not take sunsets for granted. The beauty of the sun departing the sky tonight is the last sunset I will see. Perhaps it is the last sunset I will enjoy with good health and a happy family. I have often watched the sun depart knowing that a loved one I buried that day cannot enjoy it or any future sunset. Some life events are so transitional that I view the sunset knowing that my world will never be the same again. Sometimes the sun departing in beauty reminds me that I am one day closer to my last day and I reflect on what that means for me and those I love. We can take pictures and video but can never capture the immersive feeling of a beautiful sunset. It is this elusive, fleeting, sensory indulgence that draws me back to orange sky.

On a warm June evening, at the Gaylord National Harbor (Maryland) I took the picture in this post. There was a light breeze blowing from the water as the sun descended between the trees before me. The sky was overcast with an orange glow as I listened to Jimi Hendrix sing “The Wind Cries Mary” in my earbuds. In a coincidental but perfectly timed moment,  the last notes of the guitar faded as the last sliver of sun disappeared. Sunset synchronicity perfection. The blessing of another day.