Friend, the page has turned. The chapter has ended. Another season of life has fallen away, like the brittle leaves of the lingering fall finally releasing their grip on the naked branches.
Do not worry, though, dear one. As you flip to a new chapter, the old ones are still there. The words--so beautifully and masterfully assembled into the wonder of sweet memory--to them we can turn when the next chapters grow grey. Let bitterness and sorrow go, for the future is bright with possibilities, like the sun leaping over the horizon after the coldness of the night!
Our lives are like planes--we take off from one place and end up in another. Indeed there is sadness in the departure, but there is great joy in the arrival. We have nothing to fear, though we do not know where our story may whisk us off to. Cling to God; gape at the marvels of His work. The flowers; the silent moon; the animals of all shapes, sizes, colors, and personalities; our faithful families; the song of birds and the hush of the ocean on the shore; the meandering clouds and the dazzling sun; the rain in the night and the sunrise in the morning; the gurgling rivers and the snaking mists; the power of the lightning and the regality of the mountains; the snow and the summer heats; laughter and imagination.
The chapter may have ended, but the story is not over. And the best is always saved for last.
It goes something like a riddle.
Some of us are round, some of us are thin. Some of us have black hair, orange hair, white hair, blond hair, purple hair, or none at all; it may spiral down past our shoulders or sit just above our ears. Our eyes are blue, green, hazel, and brown, or sometimes a unique mixture of them, as if they have been swirled together by an artist. Our skin may be white, black, brown, or red--it may be freckled or splotched, smooth or wrinkled. Some of us have expensive clothes, some of us do not. Some of us have tattoos, and some of us have rings.
We may be silent, scarcely venturing to speak a word, or we may be loud and expressive. We may prefer company, or to sit alone and read. We all have unique songs, unique talents and skills.
What are we?
We are people--every single one of us different but the same. Though our eyes are like paintings, each special, unreproducible, and beautiful, we fail to see the beauty in each other. Our wrinkles are not objects of shame but testaments of our travels; our color is not the definition of our character but a display of our Creator's imagination; and our hair is not an embarrassment but a proclamation of our personalities. Our shapes are not things to be compared with others, our voices are not to be left unheard, and our wealth is not to be our identity.
Take a moment, friend, and admire the beauty of people. We should be very glad that everyone is not just like us--that we are all made to be ourselves. Otherwise, I should think the world would be a much drearier place to live.
I turn my gaze upward to the glittering night sky in utter awe. To me, the stars seem to be mere flecks of shimmering dust, perhaps scattered across the black sky by a fairy. But I am profoundly struck with the thought that they are, in reality, mysterious planets or faraway suns bigger than our own.
Moreover, what are they but a fraction of all the stars and planets across the vast expanse of space? And what are those but pieces of billions of trillions of galaxies, the sight of which dazzle us even across immeasurable miles? What of the nebulas, delicate yet vibrant, or the asteroids silently spinning in the darkness?
What small, insignificant things we are—we vainly think we are the center of everything. In spite, we have abandoned our fellow man because we think ourselves too important to stop and help each other. We have become consumed with ourselves instead of wonder at our meager place in this wide universe. When we are so little in light of the entirety of creation, how could we think ourselves so important to not be kind to one another?
Friends, we have a Creator that has considered us worthy of love and attention amongst all the countless miles of space. Should we not, too, consider what small things we are and love one another?
I jolt out of my daze as the car lurches over an unexpected pothole in the road.
It has been a long, uneventful trip--the grass moves by in one indistinct blur and puffs of white cloud drift lonesomely through an unchanging sky. The time I've spent in the car seems to get longer as I think about it, as if to mock me; and my eagerness to reach my destination only swells.
But as I look at a patch of trees quickly approaching me, I notice how each one is different: each of their branches is different, and their gentle swinging in the wind all seems to go to a unique beat. I wonder, if they had eyes, what they would have seen. Would each knot in their trunk represent a poor family passing them by, hoping for a better life in the Wild West? Is each kink in their arms a reminder of a dreadful storm?
Suddenly, the sky darkens, and I imagine a single torchlight flickering in the midst of the darkness as a company of knights from a faraway land seeks fortune in a strange land. I picture wagons on a dirt path full of settlers yearning to breathe the free air of unexplored territories. I see farmers tilling cotton, corn, and wheat, preparing to take their goods to the market in the morning.
All of the sudden, the boredom and the destination become very faint, distant ideas; for I have diverged from the path of reality and taken the wondrous road of imagination into realms unknown. Reality often blinds us to beauty; let us instead be like children and see the wonder around us all the time.
What a laugh can do to turn a sour day sweet!
Tell me, why do we waste such time feeling pity on ourselves, or feeling embarrassed, or worrying about what others' thoughts are of us? Why do we dwell on what we don't have, when, if nothing else, we've been blessed with life? Why do we grasp for joy and yet joy's best expression has been placed inside us already?
A laugh is as strong as an ox to lift a burden, yet as delicate as a mother's touch to bring hope to the darkest of times--and what light a smile can bring to the gloom of an impending storm! Just as the moon brings light to the night and the lightning brings a glimmer in the rain, so does a laugh to hard times.
Don't despair, friend. All of us get stuck in the trap of sadness and hopelessness. But I plead with you, do not bottle up your laughter. Be struck with the wonder of the world again. Grin at silly faces in the mirror; chuckle at that puppy just learning to run; giggle at the baby trying to talk; snicker at the innocent wonderings of a child.
The world desperately needs your beautiful laughter at the joy you've found in the everyday things.
Have you ever stopped to think about the little things?
Have you ever stopped to stare at the eerie blue glow of the distant moon through the trees? Have you ever admired the twinkling of the stars, the pictures they have painted in the sky? What of the dance of the pine trees in the wind or of the colorful clouds stippled in the sunset?
Or should we forget the yearning song of one bird to another, or the glitter of the dew in the grass, or the way the fog lays down to sleep on the earth in the early morning? Should we not remember the tender embrace of our beloved family, or the comfort of our pets under our arms?
And isn't it right that we should look at a picture frame and remember all the memory that is attached to it, or to see all the gifts we've been given and recall our good friendships? Might we look into the rain and see sunshine coming behind it--look into the darkness of the storm and see the lightning that is a glimpse of the light that is to come?
I think we often lie in wait for the "next big thing" when we might find more joy in the little things along the way. Was not this path called life laid before us on purpose? It is not a barren path, I say; it was a path meant for our long journey into the next life. Upon it has been laid the flowers that adorn themselves with colors unmatched; upon it has been laid the refreshing sight of a new sunrise; upon it has been laid all the small joys that our eyes so often pass over.
Keep moving forward, friend; but don't neglect to pick up the beauty that has been laid at your feet.
A barren forest lies still before me, not so much as a whisper of wind to be spoken of. I almost feel myself holding my breath, as if I feel the forest doing the same.
Suddenly, a commotion in the fallen carpet of leaves sends a blur whistling down from the treetops. It swoops in and clutches an unsuspecting squirrel in its fearsome talons. As it alights upon a secluded branch to feast on its catch, I shift to catch a glimpse of this monstrous predator.
I find that it is only a small hawk. His brown feathers are lightly brushed with a hypnotizing pattern of white and black, as if he were picked up, painted, and released by a Master Artist.
I suppose my movement alerted him, for his little head spun around rapidly as I gaped at him. His piercing eyes meet mine for just a passing moment before he soars off again, uncomfortable with my watching him, I guess. I wonder how long he had waited for that prized feast he snatched from the ground, how long he had perched on that branch in anticipation of a meal. He was silent as the still air, never making so much as a call or a song or a wail.
His keen eyes seem to me as wise as the owl. How patient the simple hawk was! He never griped or screeched as if to say, "How sore might my misfortune become as I sit here in this lonely tree?" I think we might do well to learn from such a little creature in such a large world. Who are we to say that brighter days are not ahead, sitting here in the lonely present?
If we only shall wait in quiet trust of the Providential Hand, we ourselves might see a scurry of hope in the deadness of the forest.
What can compare to the otherworldly beauty of snow on the ground? Fall has melted away, and in its place, the frost crystallizes on the ground and on the naked arms of the trees. Some may call the cold bitter, but I call it sweet like sugar dusted across the earth.
In many ways, I feel a certain harmony with nature when the snow flutters down from the heavens. When we shiver, the trees, too, quiver in the sharp wind, for they have no covering for their bareness. When we "freeze," we watch as the delicate frost creeps up our windows, or as the murmuring creeks go silent as their current falls still. When the snowflakes, each peculiar and none the same, cling to the ground to form one blanket, we are reminded that we are each uniquely created--and that we are all part of something more than just ourselves.
To many the snow is a nuisance, and that brilliant, shimmering glow of the snowflakes in the sunlight has become repulsive. Perhaps, when it is not rare, it is so; but is it not with all things? We, like the snow melting under the heat of spring, have lost our wonder. It clings to us in childhood, and we throw it off when we must "mature."
So, you see, the snow is not so simple as a smattering of white basted carelessly across the ground. I think it much more than that--a reminder of the wonder of our Creator, and an admonishment that we not forget that carefree joy of youth. Perhaps we do not need great minds to change the world. We may only need a snowball fight when the earth turns white to spark a smile on someone's face.
I watch as greedy clouds sneak in from the north, so innocent until their color turns grey. Like a covetous dragon consumed with concealing his beloved gold, they hide the beauty of the blue sky from us that they may hoard the pure sunlight to themselves. Sprinkles of rain roll down my window, clouding my view of the already dull woods before me. Even their fallen leaves seem to long for sunlight, having massed into one endless carpet of brown on the forest floor. The sharp cold seems to have no rival--it pierces my windows, my skin, and even my bones.
Yet even as I yearn for the light of the sun to fall upon the earth again, I wonder if I might be missing the beauty hidden in this gloom.
I reflect on the things I have done during these grey days, and I find that there is indeed joy in the dreary day. It's in the rain that patters on my window and lulls me to sleep; it's in the fallen leaves that expose the peculiar grace of barren trees; it's in the hot cup of tea that I sip while I sit with my family to escape the cold. The mist that snakes through the labyrinth of the forest, the hush of the breeze caressing the trees, the warmth of a thick blanket--that is the joy in the dreary day.
Indeed will I long for the soothing touch of the sunlight, but until then, may I never take the beauty of a dreary day for granted.
Of all the times of year, Christmas is the most joyous to me.
I cannot conceive another time of year in which I might recline by the soul-piercing warmth of the fire, sipping a cup of rich hot chocolate, and listen to a gleeful tune about roasting chestnuts or taking a sleigh ride through the pure white snow. I love to watch the sparkling ribbons, the glittering ornaments, and the twinkling lights go up upon a Christmas tree that wafts the smell of fresh pine through my house.
I cannot recall another time of year in which I spend time with my family, laughing at the memory of Christmases past, whilst I lovingly arrange little ceramic houses into a little village. The tiny stain glass windows of the snow-laden church light up in anticipation for the coming holiday. Inanimate though they are, I can almost hear the plastic carolers release Yuletide tunes into the air. I envy the snow in which they lift up their joyous song, even as I shake a snow globe, watching the flickers of white swirl inside the glass.
Yes, these all are wonderful things that I cherish in my heart, but even in the midst of the laughter, I remember the starry night many years ago that changed history's course. One brilliant star, a host of angels, and the decree of a ruler brings peasants, shepherds, and kings all under one, dirty roof. Surrounded by animals and hay, they all gather round a horses' trough, a sparkle of wonder and, perhaps, surprise in their eyes. A little child, wrapped snugly in linen, sleeps in the midst of this most unusual assembly in a most unusual place.
Gifts they lay before him--a king, they say, He is. Yet he does not stir--God in flesh, they hear, He is. A child like any other child, frail and weak? Indeed, but the Savior of the world, the skies declare, He is.
My Savior, I know, He is.
Star Wars Takeover begins tomorrow, so there will be no more snippets until January.
So, with that, I wish you and your family a very, very
I'm a sci-fi/fantasy lover & writer who especially likes talking about Star Wars and futuristic tech. I like finding new things & finding the beauty in old things, especially in my "Everyday Snippets" series. I hope you'll join me on my blog and unleash your imagination!