Saturday, December 02, 2006

A (Necessarily) Brief Dialogue with the Sunset

I knew He was coming. The day was waxing old, and the scattered tufts and wispy swirls of cloud were arriving at their positions for the evening’s celestial collage. Already their daytime white was receding beneath soft highlights of early-evening gold.

Soon He arrived, dressing everyone in salmon and tangerine, with such translucent intensity that one might think the sky was peopled with glowing embers. As a whispered promise of crimson approached cloud’s edge, I clumsily broke the enchanting grand silence.

“Wait, let me get my camera!” I blurted out, wishing to preserve the moment in pixels.

“I cannot wait for you,” He gently replied. “I will be gone by time you return. Why not enjoy me in the moment that is given you? I am a gift to you, but you can never possess me on your own terms.”

The western sky was still ablaze, but already graying fringes at the clouds’ farthest reaches bespoke the evening’s imminent advent. “I love to luxuriate in your glory,” I responded, trying to encourage Him to stay longer, “but you depart so quickly and your glory fades. Why is that?” (I hoped that if I could keep Him talking He would have to stay.)

But He responded, “My glory never fades; there is not a moment of the day in which someone on earth is not rejoicing to see it. It is your field of vision that is narrow; you do not see me continuing my course.”

Deep rose and violet were already silently spreading across the firmament as each present moment inexorably leapt into the past. “You’ll be back tomorrow, won’t you?” I plaintively asked, hoping to diminish my sense of loss.

“Tomorrow will not be the same; indeed, it cannot. Can you not see that in your anxiety for tomorrow, you are missing today? Behold, twilight approaches!”

The purpling sky permitted only a few streaks of pale light, as the formerly brilliant vapors began to brood into stone gray. I felt chilled, disheartened at his leaving, and I told Him so.

“It is the hour for me to yield unto stars,” He replied. “Open now your heart to receive the silent mysteries of the night. And lo, I am with you always.”

I had heard those words before, and I knew who was behind them. So I warmed to the thought, remembering how the nocturnal diamond display always leaves me breathless. I was encouraged as I realized that we are here not to grasp but to receive, and that life’s passing moments are not really lost, but one gift replaces another. Thus I knew that in some form He would return. He never twice looks the same, yet I never have to ask, “Who are you?” for I know it is He.

Therefore I will not try to grasp Him but be willing to be held at his will. I will no longer anxiously pursue Him but will drop everything at his approach. I will not lament his departure but will await his return. I will make no demands but will be at his service. I will be enthralled with his glory and keep the memory of Him through the night. He will be there for me, and I will be there for Him. And all manner of things shall be well.