It’s 7:23 and the chill of asphalt is traveling quickly through my flimsy flip flops. I lean my bike against my body, the cold metal causing my legs to protest, and now my torso is chiming in about the coat I left at home, but I’m not about to go get it. I look out over the desert. The mountains are hiding the sun, but its fire can’t be hidden, and electric clouds light the horizon. It won’t be long.
Within seconds, the sun pops from valley folds, and slightly blinded, I breathe in sunshine for as long as I can before my veins turn to ice and I can’t pedal home. I never once question if witnessing this every day happening is worth standing in the cold.
It’s worth it.
For years I enjoyed watching day break, but sometime last winter, I stopped making the time. It was probably too cold, too inconvenient, too common. Another rotation of the earth, another sunrise. No big deal. The sunrise alarm would jingle my phone and I’d silence it, get back to tasks consuming my attention, and that was the daily routine – jingle, swipe, back to life. Routine had absorbed my soul.
This went on for quite a while, until one day – unable to recall when I’d last seen the sunrise – I deleted the alarm altogether. And part of me was really sad about it. Not sad about the absent alarm (less noise is always welcome) but sad that God was throwing color on waking skies and I’d lost delight in it all. I didn’t want to forget, but I apparently didn’t care to remember either.
The funny thing about the soul is, it remembers. Its cravings can’t be silenced with distractions or the petty sustenance that quiets mind and body. There came a morning when gold leaked through my kitchen windows and not a task or duty could hold me indoors. I ran the few minutes to my familiar spot, and as light filled the sky, delight filled my bones, and I stood in awe once again. Next morning, same thing; then the next, and the next, until I’d established a better routine of go, see, delight. I’d snap a picture for my sisters, sometimes send it with a verse or encouraging word – a little good news to break the monotony and monotone that soon fill a day – and it’d be back to life, just like before. But unlike before, now I had fire in my bones.
God is called the ‘Father of Light‘ only once in the Bible, but I think it’s my favorite name. It fits Him, and it explains why I need Him so much: His light wakes every facet of my being. The world’s darkness lulls my soul to sleep with bleak news and dull talk from dim minds. It’s a cynical forecast of gloomy attitudes telling me it’s just another day of drudgery. But God invites me to come and see His graces. If I silence His reminder, I’ll forget to delight in who He is. And when I forget Who God is, I forget who I am – a soul with a purpose, not a human with a routine.
Which is why I keep going out, watching melon clouds and violet stripes as the sun carves its path across the mountains. Nature’s beauty is a rhythm of thanks to its Creator – a song of gratitude – reminding me it’s another day to recognize God’s wonder and reflect His splendor with gladness.