Awaiting Dawn

Driving down the road tonight left me thinking about how beautiful Charlotte is. I never wanted to live in a city; I’m still holding out for my someday house on several acres of land with thousands of stars shining brightly above me each night. But in those few peaceful minutes while riding down highway 74, I realized how much I love living in this city for this season of life.

There’s something ethereal about those moments of twilight as the sun slowly tucks behind the clouds and the crickets begin their evening melodies. I feel God there, in the warm breeze blowing hair wildly across my face, in the crisp air filling my lungs. And in this brief instant, as the last glimpses of sun’s warming light become eclipsed by the soft glow of the fireflies, time has somehow sped up and completely stopped altogether.

That place between places, or rather time between times, is a fleeting paradox. The sun takes several long hours to cross the sky each day but takes mere minutes to fully set, ushering in the moon and stars of night. One long season of darkness following a season of blinding light, but only because of a few minutes of chaos in the sky. Fire burns, gold allures, pink enchants–all colliding with blues and purples and greens that wash over you in a heavenly battle. Then the sky goes quiet. And one by one, the twinkling gems appear in the sky, beckoning you into their mystery.

I find myself a resident in this moment of ethereal warfare. Trapped in the chaotic beauty of change and death and life. Tragedies have a way of doing that to you, rearranging your perspective and denying you the stability of sun and stars. I’ve spent fifteen weeks wrapped in a maelstrom of questions, uncertainty, prayer, doubt, worry, fear, anger, regret, and hopelessness. I’ve spent fifteen weeks not composing the words I hoped would best express my love, grief, support, and sympathy. And what do I have to show for it? A few glimmers of hope, twinkling in the seeming blackness of night.

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And yet, while this season seems endless, it will pass as abruptly as the sun sets. The battle will fade and a new constant will emerge for a much longer season. The beautiful part is, I don’t think I’ve been caught watching a sunset at all. I think I’ve spent the last fifteen weeks watching the chaotic battle that ensues before the sun rises. There have been enough years of darkness and it’s only a bit longer of this swirling, uncertain mess of colors we call ‘sunrise’ before there will finally be real light overpowering all of the darkness in a way the stars never could.

Chaos is unnerving. Change is hard. Tragedies suck. There’s nothing else to it. But what you get after all that mess? Well, that’s really beautiful.


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