Have you noticed that sunsets never last long enough? The sun sighs, changes, fades, then it’s gone.
It’s December 5th. I’m headed out the door to get a haircut at an odd time. My hairdresser added me to the end of her day. I step off the porch and note the sunset.
Driving away, I notice a major change in the sky. The sun, normally submissive to winter, grows more brilliant behind me.
A mile later, I stop the car. Just one photo and back inside the car, climbing out of the valley onto a county road. I stop and turn left on Push Mountain Road and maneuver around Matney Knob. The rear view mirror shows more sky—the sunset’s dye spreads and crosses mountain ranges.
I drive the wiggly road and come to the bridge crossing the White River. I slow. The sun is leaping the river and striking the monumental white cliffs. Sun-struck cliffs. A feast for the eyes.
Soon I turn west toward Mountain Home, Arkansas, and winter looks anything but indifferent. I drive into its brightness.
I become like Jacob in the Bible (Genesis 32:22-32, NIV). Determined. I do not turn the sunset loose. A fiery sky, painted by God Himself. I want His blessing.
Longing to hold on, I chase the sky streaked with a bold mixture of oranges and yellows, wearing a cloudy purple cap.
Bold colors, wings outspread. A tiger lily sunset. It’s God, the creator, at work.
Still, westward bound.
It’s as if the sun does not want to go down, turn loose. Light shoots through the crowns of trees.
Highway 201 makes a turn north, but my hairdresser lives west. I veer off onto county roads, still moving toward the sun but now roller-coastering up and down hills, catching snatches of a fiery sky with my eyes.
I arrive at the beauty shop. My hairdresser greets me as she peeks out the screen door. I call to her, “Come outside! You need to see this sunset!” She hurries.
Both of us feel the pull of it. Feels like the enormity of God.
We stand together and watch. It begins to recede.
Then we turn and go inside where I sit in a chair, and she stands behind with a pair of scissors. It takes 25 minutes, then I’m out the door into the dark, meandering my way back home.
Her last words stay with me, “Watch out for the deer….”
I drive five minutes and notice twinkling Christmas lights in yards. They do not pull me.
They are nothing compared to that sunset. Nothing.
Later, back home, my husband shows me a photo he’d taken of the sunset, coming home from work. He’d found a place to pull over and take a photo!
After settling for the evening, I see other photos of the sunset on Facebook. I was not alone in my joy.
What is it about an explosive sunset before it dies away?
Maybe God’s way of reminding us to be still and know that He is God (Psalms 46:10).
No matter what’s happening that’s painful, mean, and ugly in our world, God is still God. He has a plan, and we are part of His plan. Something I cling to.
God bless you,
Sunset on December 5, 2019, photographed by Jimmy Durmon.