Lately, I have been collecting pictures of sunsets as I juggle a tub full of conflicting thoughts and emotions. After completing my last small book of poems, remembrances, and thoughts, Storytellers and Dreamers, I flew into hyperdrive to complete and mail two small quilts to my grandson Joshua and granddaughter Gabby as well as pack and move us to our Florida abode. I also piddled around writing the sequel to Braking Points, as yet unnamed. But collecting photos, some I have taken, others pulled from others’ posts, trying to tag them so I remember who to give the credit to, a new book undulates in my head like a swirling flock of birds, a book about those last whispers of light in the evening sky of life.
Hard as it is to write it, this past several months has been a summer/autumn of good-byes. Many of these are still too raw to put the words on paper, so that will come later. Each one, even the more distant ones, challenged me yet again to face with courage, but not rush toward the last sparkles of flaming light on the horizon. So the swirling flock of thoughts in my head carries me forward even as it baffles me. Every sunrise should fill me with hope and thanksgiving in anticipation of a new day—the day the Lord has made—and most days it does. There are things to do, people to see, daily challenges, and the anticipation of the unexpected, of adventure. Most days I want to cram as much as I can into every hour. Some days I want to fade into the background and hibernate. With each day’s passing, after the sunset, late at night before I fall asleep, I pray like I did as a child. “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
For each time I close my eyes to sleep brings me closer to that reality. No twenty one year old or even fifty year old in good health thinks like that. There are dreams I have yet to complete. I have so much more love I want to give. Adventures I never would have considered in my youth capture my attention. I told Terry recently after friends of ours here in Florida went parachuting that I wanted to do that. He looked at me and said, “Where is my wife and what have you done with her?” If I cannot go out with bang not a whimper, I at least want to make some noise and accomplish some goals before I go.
But it really isn’t up to me nor should it be.
Sunsets fascinate me. The western sky broadcasts each day’s good-bye. For every glorious ending there are hundreds of days that end in lackluster gloom. Dark comes quickly without any fanfare. Who takes pictures of dreary sundowns? I am thinking maybe there should be a few in my collection. Certainly my life like most others consists of flares of wonder, uneventful seasons, flashes of terror, and dark tunnels so it is reasonable to expect the ends of the days to follow the pattern.
Did I mention, there have been way too many good-byes this past summer? I am grieving and what is worse, my child and his children are grieving, my friends are grieving loss of soulmates, and even the more distant losses add to my grief. God has me and those I love, but still I see the writing in the sky with every sunset and don’t want to waste a moment.