A few years ago I took my girls on a grand mother/daughter drive up the coast of California.
I carefully calculated each stop, and despite my girls eye-rolls about all that driving when we set off on our way, I think it’s safe to say that we all drank up the beauty as well as the togetherness. That coast is gorgeous and my girls are the best travel companions.
There was one evening, however, when I miscalculated our timing. We took too long at our lunch stop and my heart sank when I realized we weren’t going to be able to make it to one of the spots I was most excited about (Big Sur) before dark.
And once that realization came everything started to go wrong. I was on edge. We raced the sun and willed it to stay in the sky as long as possible. We took some wrong turns, my phone map wouldn’t work, my frustration with my non-helping girls grew, my heart was racing.
We got to one small beach at dusk where we happened to run into friends (small world…happened to also be when I was marching huffy out of the car…real life) who told us the most beautiful spots were 1/2 hour behind and 1/2 hour ahead. So we raced to the one ahead of us.
True to myself, even though it was indeed quite dark when we arrived, I still got out of the car to try to catch the lingering light on my camera. I was determined.
I snapped the shutter once and looked at the image on my camera. And instantly I was in love with it.
I fell in love not because it was crisp or clear (it wasn’t), and not because it captured the beauty I had intended to find there, but because that picture was beautiful in a completely different way than I had imagined. A breathtaking beauty in its own way, filled with depth and darkness contrasting with the little remaining light.
And right then and there a little analogy to life came to my heart:
Sometimes it’s not the beauty that we planned on experiencing. The darkness seems to far outweigh the light at times. But if we keep our eyes open and look, and seek, we can notice beauty for ashes (like it talks about in Isaiah) and we realize that without the blacks and darkness, the colors and vibrancy of life wouldn’t be nearly as dramatic and beautiful. Oh, it may take some time, but the light is there.
So, since I have this picture printed out in my home to remind me that the darks are what make the contrast and beauty in the long-run, I figured now, in the midst of such abundant darkness in the world, it might be a good time to share it, and that maybe you blog readers I love would like it too (it should be high enough resolution to print).
We all have some darkness in life. I know for so many in the world right now that darkness and hopelessness is creeping in more than ever before. But I love the thought that if we look, and are patient, one day we will find beauty for ashes.
Thank you for teaching me so much over the years and sharing your light through emails and comments and for saying “hi!” in randomly chance meetings out in the world. So grateful for this community.