I am a sunset hunter. If I see the sky turning shades of pink or orange I nearly have to get out, to go as fast as I can to a place where I can watch the sky transform moment by moment. It fascinates me, the way one cloud will be afire one moment and the next a shadow of grey.
I have always thought that everyone likes sunsets, and mostly that's true. I'm always amazed, though, how much regular life just goes on with perhaps a passing appreciative glance towards the sunset. I'm learning that I am perhaps a bit obsessive. I would pull to the side of the highway in Dallas, or be found on the roof of the work parking garage, or in the cargo elevator room in the hotel we stayed at last week, because it was that window that showed the sunset. It's been true of me since I was a newly mobile 17 year old with a motorcycle.
C.S. Lewis said, "We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words - to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become a part of it." I think perhaps what sunsets symbolize for me is that no matter the mundane or darkness of the world of man, still, unfailingly, there are these moments of transcendent beauty painted on the sky. It says to me that God is beautiful and that He present here. I hear the call, "Behold, I make all things new."
There are different things that bring people to a transcendent experience, one of worship. For my husband it is so often in the mind, intellectual that he is. For me, it is outside. It is here that I am brought to my knees. I wonder if I will remember these sunsets, the ones that marked the return to the beauty of Indonesia that brought me so much joy?
Will I remember this place I found on my first motorcycle ride out exploring our little Javanese city? Where the sun set over the village below? Where two weeks ago, the cloudy sky of rainy season covered the sunset and all was gray until after the sun had passed the horizon. Then, suddenly, the entire sky turned pink and mist covered the valley as the call to prayer echoed?
Will I remember the days I took Elly to the soccer field and she ran around in the grass oblivious to the glory around us?
Will I remember last week, when we were all sick in our hotel room room and I saw the city of Solo turning gold, so I searched up and down our floor until I found a window next to the cargo elevator in the supply room that had a view to the West. And although the next two days were gray, that day the city was afire?
Will I remember when I went looking for a view and found a path paved in the rice fields where the sun reflected in the paddy and I walked and sang for the joy of being here, alive? There was a rock in the paddy and I thought, if I were in high school this would be the rock I'd come to to watch the sun set. And then I thought, who am I kidding? I am here, right now, apparently still at the high school level of obsession with beautiful things. And, despite my husband's teasing, I will keep going. Because for me there is something incredibly profound and soul-stirring in the great beauty of light moving into night without a sound.