By Reba Phelps
During my seventh-grade year we said good bye to the last living grandparent that my siblings and I had on this earth. It was a dark gray and rainy day that mirrored the sadness that we all felt. On our way home from Sabine Parish the sun began to shine through clouds with the most radiant beams that commanded my attention. In my child like mind, I wondered if my grandmother was being transported to heaven within those rays. I could not quit staring at the contrast of the sunny rays and dark clouds.
You could say this was my first encounter with God’s beauty that catapulted me into deeper thought.
Many years later when my own mother passed away, I vividly recall it being the windiest April that I could ever remember. I took a lot of long walks that month and the wind was so strong and intense that it was impossible to even listen to music with earbuds. I gave up and soon left my earbuds at home. In my grown-up mind I wondered if God was trying to get me to be still and spend time with him during my lonely and grieving walks.
Three years ago, this month while leaving a wake for my friend’s father, I stopped in the parking lot of the funeral home to admire the most vibrant pink sky that my eyes ever had the pleasure of seeing. While I was grieving for my friend, I could not help wonder what the beautiful sky looked like from heaven’s view. I don’t think our minds can comprehend the true beauty that awaits us in heaven.
My daughters are now used to me randomly stopping on road trips to take in the fall leaves or spring trees when they begin to produce their green leaves. They will practically remind me to look if they think I am missing something that should be noticed by my watchful eyes. They have even learned to tolerate my frequent trips to the Flora Cypress Exit to appreciate the black sky with what seems like a million stars on a clear and cold night.
Being on the lookout for God’s beauty is one of the life lessons that will always be taught in my home.
This year our little southern towns were blessed when the skies opened up and dumped more snow than we have ever seen locally in our lifetimes. The roof tops were white, the tree branches hung low with the weight of the ice and snow, fields were covered with thick white blankets…it was a sight to behold here in the deep South. Time even seemed to slow down as our childlike minds enjoyed building snowmen, making snow angels and hurling snowballs at each other.
God’s beauty is simply all around us and is meant to bring us a peaceful reminder that he is never far away.
I shudder to think of all of the wasted breathtaking sunsets that I missed because I was too busy. The multi-hued rainbows, full moons on a clear night, diamond filled skies with millions of bright stars that I have missed in my lifetime because I didn’t take enough time to slow down and take it in. No one paints a picture like God does. In a year full of ups and downs and turmoil, he is still providing a backdrop to steal the show. There are great blessings to be found when we slow down to enjoy the simplest of things that all happened to be born during the first seven days of creation.
“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” – Psalm 118:23