How We Got Here
for Dad, on your 80th birthday
from Troy, with love
Yesterday our drive started in full sun and took us through a twilight of shifting colors—but with each increment of time it felt as if the beauty of those moments would last forever.
God made the light in color, at once deepening and unchanging. We don't know how it happens, but we meet eternity in this place of passing time. Suddenly, a lifetime becomes this twilight.
The sun was brilliant at one point, drawing our eyes to its rich, dense light as it set slowly. A bank of clouds like slate obscured the topside, and it seemed as if the sun was attached to the sky’s cathedral stone, delaying the onset of twilight in mercy.
The sight of the setting sun prompted the family to try to capture it on camera as we drove to see you. But you can’t capture these moments like that. We could no sooner bottle the ocean than photograph the dusk of the day. So, we kept driving, contenting ourselves that the mind’s eye can hold these moments better than a smartphone.
And as we drove, the sun began to merge with the horizon. I drove as if I could reach that horizon but the horizon kept moving, elusive, like hope…present but always out in front calling to a changing landscape.
We hit La Crosse and drove through that stretch of road that bends and curves. The terrain there swells wildly, unpredictably. The river divides the states and the water widens in places, drawing our eyes to its flowing stillness.
When the sun and the horizon meet, the sky changes color again. The finest artist could not canvas it. There are too many colors to mix. Deep blues and purples, like lilacs. Orange like a robin’s breast, gold richer than Solomon. Red like blood. Amber that drips like honey, both sweet and strong—a gentle kiss. There are so many colors to see in this twilight and the textured hues were multiplied in the water. We tried again to capture the colors with our cameras, trying to keep these moments.
Most times these sacred mysteries are right next to us but we don’t even notice them. But yesterday God graced us with the gift of recognition.
Recognition that the road has been long.
Recognition that it hasn’t always been easy.
Recognition that we took for granted the lion-share of the day.
Recognition that, nevertheless, the day was rich and full of life.
And recognition that the day isn’t over yet.
And there is beauty in this place for these moments
that we want to capture with our cameras, but can’t.
The recognition is a grace and we know God is here by that grace.
We know God is here because we are here to share these moments together, however brief they may be. We know God is here because he’s given us the beauty of this day, this time together to enjoy the changing, breathtaking colors of twilight.
And we are assured that the God of this twilight will be the same God of the night. However we got here, it was by Love and wherever the road takes us it will be under the canopy of that same Love, a horizon we will never reach, but is present, all the same.
Happy birthday, Dad. We are glad to be with you for this time.