I am not a Facebook aficionado. Being both old and old fashioned, my preferred human interaction involves being able to smell the other person’s breath. I would much rather be “in your face” than on your Facebook. So it was somewhat out of character to open a message from Mike Garland, a former co-worker, to find a photograph of a sunrise taken from his ocean home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. For some strange reason, my immediate reaction involved not so much the beauty of the shot, but rather the thought that since sunsets and sunrises look identical to the naked eye, it would be impossible for me to detect whether it was on the way up or the way down unless otherwise advised.
Sunrise or sunset?
I have not been a fan of sunrises due to the fact that my first coherent thought usually occurs way after most folks are settling into their morning routines. If the truth be told, until recently my lifetime sunrise experiences were few and far between. Sunsets… that’s another ballgame. Growing up in the Caribbean and the Florida Keys, the opportunities to gaze at one were endless. I remember riding my bicycle around a barren Mallory Square in Key West as a pre-teen, casually glancing at the bright yellowish circle hugging the Gulf of Mexico; rather mundane, it seemed. Now that same location brings throngs of tourists to watch this “phenomenon.” Which also brings to mind the Michigan couple who were brought to tears on my father’s boat when they saw a Key West sunset over 60 years ago. What was the big deal?
As the years rolled by, these events took much somber tones. It was tough to watch heavy military weaponry obstructing the view of the sun on our pristine beaches during the Cuban Missile Crisis almost 60 years ago as our little island was overrun by Army personnel preparing for World War III. Less than four years later, on my last afternoon before heading off to college, I sat on the old pier on Monroe County Beach watching the sun set on my childish ways to begin a journey of unwanted responsibility. The next morning as I drove to Tallahassee, the sun had risen by the time the trek north began. An earlier departure with the sun topping the horizon would have become a lifetime memory; another missed opportunity.
Given the unrelenting passage of time, I am now in the midst of my fixed ride into the sunset. So mostly by circumstance, sunrises have now become much more interesting. As the bottom of my hourglass continues to accumulate sand faster than it can be shoveled out, time becomes priceless and fresh beginnings bring hope to a tired soul. Now that my universe has been condensed to one day at a time, the first light takes precedence over the last. But most importantly, I awaken daily with complete confidence that the rising of the Son assures me everlasting life with the God of the Universe.
Will there be sunsets and sunrises in Heaven? The Book of Revelation states that the New Jerusalem will have no sun or moon, for the Glory of God gives it light. No matter, Jesus has it covered. And tonight, as my head hits the pillow, I will take Psalm 113:2-3 with me, “Blessed be the name of the Lord, from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its going down, the Lord’s name is to be praised.”
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