January dawned bright with promise in my area, however the dawn light was pretty much the only light we saw so for the first three days of 2017. Gray clouds filled with a mix of precipitation have dominated the skies, making for some really wet runs and bike rides so far. (Yes, the die hard in me insisted on going despite the weather. The realist in me knows I can’t continue to do this forever, but figures we will deal with it when the time comes).
We did get a break part way through the fourth day of the year with the sun streaming through the quickly moving clouds. Though the temperature was much colder, the sun made it seem warmer, at least mentally. The clouds moved back in around sunset, reflecting the sunlight and scattering the rays across all the crevices of the clouds to create a halo effect. It was energizing to watch as I tried to stay warm during my run and bike ride.
Behind Cloud #1…
Weather like this makes me wonder what God is creating behind all the clouds. Is He dreaming up some new colors to paint in the sunrise and sunset? Does He have a new pattern of cloud formations to mix in with the blue sky? Are these gray days His way of making me fully appreciate the brighter skies? Will the light He unveils bring new perspective and wisdom to my wandering soul?
These and many other questions popped in and out of my mind during my latest runs and bike rides. While driving home from work the other night, I wondered how long God was going to wait until unveiling His next masterpiece or blessing from the sky. Looking up, I noticed the gray clouds looked more like a soft blanket. Recalling what I had learned in science classes over the years, I remembered that the clouds can keep heat in the atmosphere by radiating light back to earth. Given the dampness and the wind temperatures that day, I was glad for the clouds, for without them it would have been a very cold day, most likely leading to icy conditions (which are not runner or biker friendly).
Behind a New Year
As I contemplated the sky before me, I also thought about the newness of 2017. We never know what a new year will bring with it, though we often hope for changes in a better direction. Like the clouds, the days of each year hold many hidden events, emotions, and opportunities. It is only as the days unfold that we come to see the hidden treasures (as well as the mishaps).
The unfolding of the days may seem slow or fast, depending upon our activity level, mindset, and surroundings. This is where I think God’s and nature’s wisdom dominates us most. Both know we cannot handle knowing all things at once, so they use time in each day to slowly reveal what we must know. This does not always sit well with us, but as we grow and mature, we see the benefits to the sometimes agonizing wait.
While waiting, we often encounter others in similar situations. As we learn more about those around us, we gather a sense of being that knits us together in what I call the fabric of life. It is in this fabric woven by God and nature that makes us who we are and who we become. If we look back through each year, we may see correlations between the changes around us and within us. Sometimes these changes agree with us and other times we are not too fond of accepting them. We may hope or wish to change the changes we see and feel.
Hoping -vs- Wishing
Recently, I read an essay by Norman Vincent Peale about how hoping is different from wishing. Peale explains that hope invokes faith, for when we hope, we believe the change or event will occur. When we wish, we have doubts about whether or not an event will transpire.
Contemplating this essay, I thought about how my mindset has changed over the years. As a young person, I did a lot of wishing. Time has taught me that hoping is more productive and healthier in the long run. In my experiences, wishing led to negative thoughts and disappointments. In my teenage years, I grew tired of disappointment and the darkness created by the negativity. It took me some time to figure out a way to combat my issues, but I was fortunate to discover hope in the skies above me.
Through the years, I learned to take what I saw as hope in the colors of the sky and capture it with words. This is really how I started writing. I saw a sky that moved me to the point of wanting to share it with others and to remember the feeling of hope it stirred inside. Since I did not have a camera, I thought up some words in my head to describe what I saw and felt. As fate would have it, the words came out in rhyme. I don’t know why it happened this way, but I have a feeling God and nature felt I needed a major change and this was the mechanism to start the process toward a better perspective.
Power of Perspective
It took me quite a few years to realize the benefit of an open mind and a willingness to try new things. My experiences have taught me that taking the first step is always the hardest part. Luckily, my faith told me to hope and to trust that trying would lead to better things.
Through the feelings of hope in the colors of the sky and many miles of running, biking, and praying, I found the surface of perspective. What a rush that was, realizing that one’s view has the power to change things in a big way!
I had some help in this area, for a friend shared her thoughts on the matter. Together, we made it through some rather trying times, and we continue to help each other see different points of view despite the miles that separate us. This experience helped me to gain a better understanding of other people in my life and the situations they face. It also made me realize I was not alone in my struggles.
My favorite singer Patty Loveless once said in an interview that we are all enough alike to find a common bond. This bond will be different for each set or group of people, but what matters most is the compassion and strength that come from the connection.
What Goes Around, Comes Around
Each new year (and actually every minute of each day) offers us the opportunity for hope, perspective, and connection. What we do with these opportunities is our choice. As we go through our days, we learn how to make better choices to build a better us. We may have to try several times and adjust our process to get to where we need to be. It is in trying that we learn to endure, and in enduring that we learn patience, and in being patient that we build hope.
As my late Uncle Jim used to say, “Life is a circle, and we don’t know how many times we will go around the circle, but each time we learn more.”
May nature and time provide us with the hope and perspective we need to trek through our circle of life. May each step along the way lead to better understanding, personal growth, and a closer connection with our surroundings and with others.
Circle of Life
Sun rising in the day
Full of light to create
A path woven through time
With words unspoken and love divine
Ever changing the mind and soul
Through the rearranging of nature’s hold
Around and within the circle of life
Spinning about from day to night.
Clouds in the sky at midday
Roam about as the light plays
Upon the path of the wandering feet
Moving ahead and back, onward and in between
The dust and gravel of the landscape
While building hope and trust through faith
Around and within the circle of life
Coming around again each morning after the night.
Sunset at the end of the day
Gold, orange, red, and other shades
Sinking in the western sky behind the clouds
Reflecting the light all around
Weaving together the minutes passed
In blessings rendered by moments had
Around and within the circle of life
Bringing about change through time.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
References and Related Links
Clouds and Heat in the Atmosphere – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Clouds/
Norman Vincent Peale – https://www.guideposts.org/norman-vincent-peale
Perspective and the Power to Change – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-terri-kennedy/positive-attitude-advice_b_1018175.html