Today I started reading a book by Henri Nouwen called The Dance of Life. Included in this book are excerpts from several of Nouwen's other books. I was just flipping through the short entries and was struck by one in particular. Nouwen talks about seeing a beautiful sunset and uses the visual example to tie in the relationship between joy and hope. He says that “While optimism makes us live as if someday soon things will go better for us, hope frees us from the need to predict the future and allows us to live in the present, with deep trust that God will never leave us alone but will fulfill the deepest desires of the heart.” For him the sunset was a visible reminder of both hope and joy.
During the summer we had a beach BBQ with some friends. As the sun was setting, those of us with cameras rushed over to capture this picturesque moment as the sky turned into vibrant shades of orange and yellow. Cameras clicked, flashes flashed. After the sun disappeared behind the Olympic mountains, a group of people started clapping at the stunning performance. After the applause, someone commented that it seemed strange for people to clap at "just another sunset as they are so common. "
I can't think of many things that cause me to stand in awe of God like a sunset. I picture God as an artist with a blank canvas always coming up with new colors for us to enjoy...shades of pink, bright orange, grey, blue...I wonder how many times I fail to see the message of joy and hope He wants to convey because I am too busy to stop, notice and acknowledge these reminders. Lately I have been very aware of this as it is such an amazing time of year. As I see sunsets, bright red and yellow leaves on trees, it is fun to imagine that these are gifts to be enjoyed in the present.
Thursday, October 16
I have been going through my pictures, and have enjoyed looking at this album of Italy. I was able to go over last year to attend a conference. This was the first time I have been back in twenty years. The pictures are made up mostly of places we lived as a family. My brother and I were able to go together, and we were graciously hosted by some friends of ours from language school in Perugia. I feel such a sense of nostalgia when I look at these pictures. I miss Italy so much. It was strange to go back as a tourist knowing I would be returning to the US after such a short time. Tonight I made cookies with Nutella in them, and I remembered how much I enjoyed the simple pleasures. Fortunately, you can find it here! Saturday, we are going up to my brother's house to celebrate a late Thanksgiving, only we will be making homemade tortellini instead of turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!