The first few days of October in my area have offered some wonderful sights in the sky, including:
- A double rainbow in the evening hours of October 1
- Very white puffy and feathered clouds in a deep, transparent blue sky on October 2
- Clouds that appeared to be painted in the night sky on October 3
- A sliver of a crescent moon appearing a few hours before dusk on October 4
- A golden sunrise above the cornfield on October 5
All of these sights make my mind wonder about the extent of nature’s beauty and God’s creativity. It seem as if both parties know when I need light and color to lift my spirits, and how to catch my attention. I admit there are times I go running, biking, and walking just to escape in the colors and the sights.
Contrasts and Extremes
The sights I saw this week are in stark contrast to Hurricane Matthew, which is wreaking havoc with high winds, rain, and much devastation. This is a reminder that both nature and God have extremes in each direction of good and bad. However, if we don’t experience the extremes, we don’t fully appreciate what we do have.
October is also a month of contrasts in my area with:
- Cooler mornings and evenings and warmer midday hours
- Foggy mornings with very low visibility and extremely clear night skies
- Some trees with leaves changing color early in the month and other whose leaves stay green
- Grass that is very wet with heavy dew in the mornings, but by midday is very dry
- Some days with clear, blue skies and others with gray clouds that block the sun
Nature’s Tug of War
I’ve often thought of October as nature’s tug of war. Sometimes the good side of nature prevails, other times a more nasty or negative side wins. In the long term, things even out, but in the short term, it appears the conditions are more one-sided.
Like any struggle in life, how we view the circumstances typically has an effect upon the outcome. If we think gloom and doom, we get gloom and doom. However, if we hope and have faith, we allow ourselves the opportunity to weather the storm and build character along the way.
Sometimes we have our own tug of war going on with our minds, hearts, and bodies. One part wants or wishes for a given thing or outcome while another part has a different agenda. What actually happens may or may not be in our control. The key is to find a balance in the long term, which is not always easy to do.
As stated in the Bible and in several popular songs, there is a time and a reason for everything in life. As we experience these times and discover the reasons, we grow, mature, and gain perspective. There are often questions left unanswered for years or even forever. Sometimes we struggle with not knowing or understanding.
Once again, if we can find a balance of questions and answers, we are more likely to have better attitudes and more success in dealing with our issues. This is why I think I enjoy physical exercise so much—it allows me to sort my thoughts, vent my frustrations, and build strength and stamina both physically and mentally.
Granted, there are times when I need more than just exercise to deal with life. It is in these times that I rely on faith, family, and friends to help as well. Combining all these resources is one way to foster a more natural balance in life to help deal with times of contrast and conflict.
May we all find a way to balance the contrasts of life, and may we see situations from different perspectives so that we can help each other upon the journey.
May you enjoy the following poem, inspired by the first days of October in my area.
Variety and Contrast
Rolling clouds within the blue sky
Shuffling and unfolding as the hands of time
In the blue of the dawn
And the gray of the rain,
In the rays that spawn
Life and energy unrestrained,
In the white of the clouds
And the hues bright found
Within the sunrises and sunsets,
In the many skies we both remember and forget,
We find variety and contrast
That makes us both happy and sad.
Both rainbows and raindrops
Show us the love of God,
Each in a different way,
Yet similarities exist if we take
A few moments to stop and reflect
Upon what know and what we have yet
To learn upon the journey called life
That calls us to see in many different lights
The gifts both given and received
From the spirit and nature’s beauty,
In the sun and the clouds,
In coming undone and in coming back around
Through life’s variety and contrast
That help us find what we do and do not have.
In the crescent moon of the night
And the red sun of morning’s time,
In the gold and the yellow,
In gray folds and skies mellow,
In green and blue,
In tangerine and maroon,
In violet and cantaloupe,
In burnt red and desert rose,
In orange and peach,
In all the colors before thee
That offer variety and contrast,
We see the love of God meant to last.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski