Seasons are changing.
The anxiety-stirring in-between.
I've always been quite fond of sunsets. I remember Summer of 2016 when I would bike around the city, eyes fixed above searching for the best spot where I could see the sky turn orange, pink and purple. Or in March when the grey winter clouds finally faded and we could enjoy gradient sun rays reflecting off clouds. And in the past two weeks, watching the weather by the minute, chasing the sun before dusk.
I wonder, what's so great about sunsets? Why are we so attracted to it, what makes the whole sky turn colors unimaginable? The whole day could be grey and cloudy, yet at the end of the day the sun decides to make an appearance for a few minutes, then the clouds glow in pink, lavender, gold and a bold orange. No matter what the day and night holds, there are a few moments in this 24-hour period where the sky will glow with splendor.
As the passage between day and night, sunsets are a reminder that even changes, in-betweens and transitions in life can be so beautiful. We are all experiencing change constantly. Currently, seasons are changing. Summer has been swept away by the Autumn breeze and here in Grand Rapids, MI we are getting a foretaste of the crisp, gloomy winter approaching. We may be experiencing a season of "new's"-moving to a new country, a new school, a new family member, a new friend. We may be experiencing loss-a breakup, death, failure, lack of rest. Simply, we are missing something that we enjoyed-something that once was. Thus we are put in an uncomfortable and anxious stage of in-between. Transitions are always hard because we are looking back into our past and wishing. Things were so good back then. Back home. Back when I could rest, when I could do whatever I wanted to. Back in Summer when I didn't have to worry about assignments. We are always taking the good of our past and comparing it to the worst of our present.
Transitions, in-betweens, new seasons, the present. Right now, this moment you are living can be something that you will look back on in the future and wish for. So take joy and live in these moments of interim because it will soon pass. Appreciate the 18 hour plane rides, summer of relocation, of seemingly endless goodbyes, failure, aging, lost loves, broken relationships. I've realized that these little moments that I've taken for granted in the past, were not so little. They were life-shaping and something I appreciate now. And I wish I appreciated it more in the moment. I'm not saying that every moment will be something you enjoy or love. It isn't easy. Despite so, appreciate these moments and embrace transition. Embrace the new season. Because sunsets are a reminder of how beautiful in-betweens can be.
With every change there is a destination, a new place to thrive, something to learn, opportunity awaiting. There will be new people and new places to fall in love with. We can live in hope of this, and be grateful for the gradient painting that embraces us as the last light leaves us for the night. Each shift in life has the potential to be as beautiful as the hues of the sky moments before dark-but only if we choose to be patient and appreciate the colors above.
One of my favorite sunset experiences is sitting up on a hilltop this summer at 7:40PM, with people I had just met 5 weeks ago, but had come to love so much. I knew that I would probably never be on this hill ever again, surrounded by the same people. Realizing that my summer was coming to a close and I would have to go back to real life was heartbreaking. This was a moment that I wanted to last forever so that I wouldn't have to take on the reality of the future. The couple minutes of watching the sun glow pink and as it descended, and soon after the blues and purples gleaming out behind the clouds. This was a reminder to embrace the beauty of transition even when we don't want to approach the intimidating future.
Treasure these moments.