Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
This is an image that I shot just after the new year of the time just following sunset over Lake Pend Oreille in the Idaho Panhandle. To explain why I chose this time, I will tell you that while I am a huge fan of the golden hour and have been known to take a sunset shot or two occasionally, my real love is that time after the sun has set over the horizon. That’s when the magic really happens. As I look upon this particular sunset, I am reminded that another year has come to pass and now the sun has set on yet another chapter in history. 2011 was a great year; one full of events both forgettable and memorable. .
On the downside, 2011 almost saw me throw away a career that I love over nothing more than simple perception. 2011 saw me make the move completely away from organized religion and come to a point where I no longer wish to participate at all. 2011 almost saw me walk away from a loving relationship because of selfish pride. 2011 claimed the lives of four very good friends; three of those in December.
Last year was not all about negatives though. God had other ideas for me. He was on top of things and I’m certain that the entire time, he was sitting there with my life map unfolded in front of him; drinking a cup of coffee and grinning from ear to ear while trying not to laugh because his kid had done something completely ridiculous again. I am quite certain that he has passed coffee through his nose on more than one occasion while watching me navigate through this life. In my darkest moments though, He gave me some valuable gifts. For the first time, I was able to put away my selfish pride and instead of projecting out, I found that I could now look inside myself to find, more often than not, the cause of my angst. Last year, I got a front seat view of what a lot of people never get to see; why it is that I do what I do for a career. The most important gift was epiphany. I began to see what is truly important in this life, what is not and how I have been misplacing my priorities. Last year, I received the greatest gift of all; God’s presence when it was the last thing I expected and more so the last thing I wanted. In a word, I received hope.
Some time ago, a very good friend of mine wrote a piece on Caleb and how he remained determined for 45 years to collect on the promises that God had made him. Caleb was one of twelve spies sent into the land of Canaan to “scope it out”. He was also one of only two people who believed that Canaan could actually be taken. Caleb trusted in God and never looked any other direction. Me? I have a tendency to be one of the other ten. I have a knack for dwelling more on how big the obstacles are and less on the end game behind the obstacles. I am the king of disheveled focus.
There have been two locations that I have found in this world where I felt more at peace than any other place on earth. One is Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. The other is right outside my front door after a new fallen snow. On late nights after a new snow fall, a walk around the city takes on a quality that is seldom seen on a regular basis. There are few or no people out. It is indescribably quiet. If you listen, you can hear the tree squirrels scampering around the branches as they make their infrequent visits to the outside world. You can hear a slight breeze blowing through the city, the sound of a roaring fire from behind the protection of someone’s four walls or even a kiss on the lips of two lovers bundled up in front of that fire. It is peaceful like nothing else. It is this type of peace that allows me to stay focused and keep my eye on what’s important. This steadfastness is so important because sitting on the other side of the horizon, outside of view is the dark clouds of a storm; lurking around waiting for our focus to be lost. When it is, they will move in faster than any super cell you’ve ever seen and will create more havoc than the largest tornado you’ve ever heard of. Without focus, grey will be the color of your skies and the shape of your outlook. With your focus intact, you can keep the storm at bay; not only from yourself but from others as well.
Ever wonder why the New Year falls in the winter? It is because laying there dormant underneath all of the ice and snow of winter, the grass, plants and flowers wait for the spring time when they will erupt into a flurry of color, growth, beauty and renewal. Is it any surprise that Easter is in the spring? “I Make All Things New”.
We don’t have to wait though. At the turn of the clock at midnight on the 31st of December (or for that matter, every other day), we get a “do over”. We get to start all over again with a fresh slate and bright eyes that look toward the future – a future worth living for and a future worth living in.