Sunrise, Sunset, Afterglow

Some of life's most profound lessons can be learned in the most unexpected places if we only take the time to look around us and see with our hearts as well as our eyes.

One day while commuting to and from work between San Antonio and Bandera, Texas, I witnessed one of the most spectacular sunrises of my lifetime.  One of the advantages of my daily drive was the rare opportunity to see the sun both rise and set in the splendor of the Texas Hill Country.  On this particular morning I took time to stop on a hilltop and watch the colors change as that large orb peeped over the horizon and then bloomed in all its glory, making it impossible to look directly into its blinding rays.  The memory of that sunrise followed me throughout the day.

As I started home that evening, I was particularly looking forward to the sunset.  I was not disappointed!  I not only saw that sunset, I experienced it.  I had a panoramic view by using the rearview and side mirrors, as well as my northwestward home-bound view.  What a breathtakingly beautiful sight!  I again stopped the car to take full advantage of that spectacular sunset.  As I sat there watching the ever-changing colors, I realized that tears of pure delight were running down my cheeks.  However, the best was yet to come in the form of the afterglow.  As the brilliant, vibrant colors of the sunset began to fade into the most beautiful pastels, mingling and blending into every imaginable color, I realized that God had given me one of the greatest gifts of my entire life--a view of life from beginning to ending~ and beyond.

Life begins as a sunrise.  Life lived out, no matter how many years on this earth, is a mere blink of the eye compared to eternity.  During the course of that lifetime many changes take place.  Sometimes the sun is completely obscured by the storm clouds of life; however, no matter how hard the storms may rage, or how dark the world may become around us, the sun is still shining.  It is only temporarily hidden from our view.  How wonderful!  It always shines again!

To me, the real beauty of life is in the fact that we're not poured into some specific mold with a predetermined, unalterable life pattern.  We were created as unique individuals with a free will to make the choices that shape our lives.  We then, hopefully, find the courage to live with the consequences of those choices.  While some choices come easy, circumstances make some choices more difficult.  However, the fact remains that we can, at any time in our lives, change our destiny by the choices we make.

During my life God has entrusted me with many challenges.  I have learned that facing these challenges developed moral, spiritual, and mental muscle to prepare me for the next gathering storm clouds.  I can't think of anything less rewarding than a life lived without benefit of trials and hardships to prepare one for the crises that are bound to come.  Without the building of some kind of inner strength, we are as helpless to withstand a sudden personal crisis as is an athlete who enters a sports arena without having developed physical muscles needed to compete in his chosen contest.  The contest was lost before it started!

As I viewed the fading sunset, followed by the afterglow, I realized that it is in our daily living, through the lives that we touch, that we are creating the afterglow that we will leave behind us.  As long as there is one life on this earth in whom we have made a positive difference, our afterglow will remain. It was at that moment that the full impact of the day's events became clear to me.  When my life's sun sets and I see my Lord face-to-face, I will view, for the first time, that sunrise in glory.  At the same time, the loved ones that I leave behind will be viewing my afterglow.  It is my desire that when this time comes for me it will be a time of celebration of my life that will never end!  No sad songs--only songs of victory!

Marjorie Baker
Copyright 1995 Marjorie Baker

Seventy-eight years of living has taught me that we can't always control what life throws our way, but we can choose how we deal with it.  While an optimist at heart, I'm convinced that it's OK to get down but it's not OK to stay down!