Saturday, January 24, 2009

"That was then - This is now..."

So, I love sunsets. :) But even something as basic as a sunset can seem completely different depending on the context. Hmmm...I guess a lot like words, or people, or faith, or..?? Maybe everything? It's not that it IS different, just it "looks" different depending on the background it is set against.

Recently when I was in the states I visited dear friends in one of my favorite places...California's Central Coast. There was a bit of an unusual heat wave for early January (80F the day these pictures were taken) and I had an few hours by myself (also unusual!) .

I went to Avila Beach and and walked along the sand. As cliche as it may sound; I watched children playing, dogs running in the surf (missed my old Jake!), just simply listened to the waves, watched the gulls, and even had enough beach to myself that I was able to sing a bit to God. I hadn't done any of that in so long it was really sweet.

It reminded me of a conversation years ago that I will never forget. A friend about my same age, we were both single (and still are) and we had a couple of friends that had the means (work, family connections, etc.) to travel to Hawaii rather cheaply. I suggested we all go and rent a house on the beach! It seemed like a great idea to me, since I had never been to Hawaii and I love to swim!

My friend's response was that "I will go to Hawaii when I go on my honeymoon". Now don't get me wrong. That is totally her right to feel that way. And maybe she would answer something different now.

But I remember thinking... "I don't want to wait to live!"

I would love to go to Hawaii for my honeymoon (well, no, actually I think somewhere in Europe like Prague or Vienna would be better..but I digress) :) ...but until (or if?!?) I do not want to wait to "sieze the day"! (I'm not saying my friend did either. She is an amazing person who lives a very full life...maybe just Hawaii was something she wanted to save.)

Nonetheless, for me it was one of those "crossroads" moments where I felt like God was asking me to stop, look around at the "context" of my life at the moment and recognize the beauty of what I had, despite maybe some less than desirable (by my agenda) circumstances.

And so...what does all this rambling have to do with sunsets? Well, here is the sunset I see from my the balcony window outside my bedroom in Kyiv. :)

Amazing, huh? :) Some sort of scary big ugly, very Auschwitz looking factory smoke stack in the distance...the bane of my commuter existence - a grimy yellow "taxi van" or "marshrutka" is at the bus stop below...but to me it is beautiful! I love that in this city of millions God has given me a view devoid of skycrapers! I love the "dacha's" out my window.

God's Word says "from the rising of the sun, til the going down of the same, may the name of the LORD be praised!" Why? Because things are as I would like them to be? Rarely. But let Him be praised because He is worthy to be praised. :)

And when I choose to praise Him I see that so often the view around me, or rather my ability to truly see the beauty surrounding me is simply an indication from out of which window of perspective I am looking...through the eyes of God's perspective, or with my limited and limiting agenda of how things should or could be.

So, this is kind of funny, because I didn't start out to write all this. Just wanted to show you my sunset pictures. :) But ya never know how things will turn out, huh? :)


Sarah said...

Love this post. When we moved to NC I was so mad because I couldn't see the sky because of all the trees. I missed sunsets and seeing wide open spaces. But as we started to make a life here I've begun to notice different aspects, nuances, of the geography that are now endearing. Yesterday we saw an amazing sunset and just enjoyed it without thinking of the ocean. I am extremely thankful for the continuity of sunsets, and for the different things they mean in different places.

benjamin morrison said...

hey cara! great shots and great thoughts! i have "tagged" you at my blog (i'm suprised you've not been hit before now?) anyway, visit my blog and check the rules. have fun with it!

Karen said...

Love it-- love that we can find beauty in Kiev sunrises....however not often they seem out my window!! Hope to reconnect soon :) I'm back! :)

Ira said...

My husband told me a couple days ago as we were driving "man, you get to enjoy the stars, while I have to look at the road". And I told him " YOU get to enjoy the drive, and I have to always be a passenger"...
Has nothing to do with sunsets, but you get my point... =)

Sue C said...

What beautiful pictures of the snow on the roofs and the lovely sunset! God bless you, Cara!

Cara Denney said...

Sarah: thanks. It's hard being so far from family and old friends, but I think living in a different place (even for a time) can really teach you a lot of things. But I guess Proust said it best.."The journey of discovery comes not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes"...or at least that's my "caraphrase" version of his quote! ha!
Ben: AAAGGHHH! TAGGED! :) Ok, I'll get to it eventually...maybe even today. Thanks for thinking of me...I think?! :)
Karen: Yes! Now that your AMAZING play has closed, hopefully we can get together for coffee! Thanks again for the great play! :)
Ira: Well said! I just looked back and saw that YOU tagged me first! SORRY! I don't keep up with this as much as I should. Hope you are well. :)
TRUTH: Thanks! Do I know you? Thanks for the kind words, whether I do or not! :)

alan said...

great thoughts and great pix. God is worthy to be praised... all the time. Amen !!