One of my earliest memories as a very young boy is my mother’s pronouncement over a particularly red sunset, “red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning”. To this day, as recently as yesterday’s evening, when the sunset sky turns an intense red, I am that five-year-old boy, hanging on to truths she shared with me then and again over the years.
As I think of them, I start the day with the following observations.
In good days and bad, the realities of the choices I have in the moment do not change. Within each moment, I hold an opportunity to realize a choice of care and kindness. You and I have far more freedom than we ever recognize. At the heart of each moment is time lies a decision wholly our own. We have the freedom, and the responsibility to choose.
There will be days when everything seems lost. Storm clouds are all around us, headwinds are overwhelming. I may wake thinking that I would be better off staying in bed, and even better off still having never been born! As I think of great moments in my life, there are as many which happened on rainy days as sunny ones. How could I have been so misled, especially when I had a choice on how I started the day?
There are constants in each day. As I close my eyes, I realize how fortunate I was to have the love of my parents and the relationships of siblings and friends. Yes, I have known tragedies and lost loves. I have also come to appreciate that each time I slowed down enough to be still and listen, Divinity’s presence was tangible. Whispers were not uncommon. A sense of peace prevailed. Hope was there, if only as a glimmer in the overwhelming darkness.
Yesterday’s sunset was filled with Divine painted reds. I saw an invitation to step into more, to “praise him, high heaven, praise him, heavenly rain clouds;” (Psalm 148.4) and be Her agent of care, kindness, and love.