Clouds: light and dark

For the last several months I have been drawn to staring at clouds…. 

I was born and raised in Seattle, traveled to Eugene for my undergrad and, after graduating, have been in Portland ever since.  It seems for a girl who has spent the majority of her life growing up among the gray of the Pacific Northwest, that clouds would have lost their fascination long ago.  Generally around here, clouds = rain.

But something about the light and the dark has been intriguing me this year.

The gallery displays some of my very amateur photos of sunrises and sunsets and cloud displays that have been so undeniably beautiful that I just have to snap a photo.  And, as it usually proves, the photos don’t even begin to capture the vast, expansive beauty that was painted in the sky during those moments.  I have been on foot, in the car, on the way somewhere…but each and everytime I see these clouds strewn across the sky I pause, take a slight gasp of a breath, and acknowledge the beauty.

I enjoy looking at the clouds wisping across the sky, layered in the atmosphere:  Unique shapes, textures that are reflecting the light, actually enabling the beauty to stay just a moment longer.  The rays of light breaking through the clouds.  The opaque whiteness of the fluffy billows absorbing vibrant colors or refracting pinks, oranges, purples.  Clouds create a contrast to the ever- darkening blue sky above in a sunset, and a contrast to the vibrant hues ever-rising in the dawn of a sunrise.

I have experienced some dark, cloudy moments in life.  Just those moments where the world seems to be caving in.  Might be pain or loneliness or feeling irrelevant.  Honestly, in reflecting, it doesn’t even matter what the moments were…I just equate them to darkness.   And in those moments, when I have laid flat on my face in pain or submission to the problem that is clouding my life–the darkness, I have begun to feel the light of God breaking through my soul.  That small whisper, saying “I am here.”  Without the clouds of darkness would I be able to feel the warmth of His light fulfill me so completely?

That voice… those moments of light breaking through when we are in darkness — they are opportunities for me to gasp a breath and sit in awe of beauty for a moment.  God’s beauty.

This is what I have been seeing in the clouds. The temporary gasp, acknowledging the beauty.  Thanking God for painting the sky.  Actually thanking Him for the clouds.

Sunrises and sunsets are just so much more beautiful with clouds.

And I can, just a little bit, understand what James is saying when he says “consider it pure joy when you face trials” (James 1 v 2-4).  Or when Paul says that he will “boast all the more gladly about his weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”,  and that “for Christ’s sake he actually delights in weaknesses, in insults and hardships, in persecutions and in difficulties.”  “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12v8-10).  I’m not there yet.  I am sure a work in progress.  But, I definitely see the beauty in the trials I have had, even if they are unresolved.  I can see the light breaking through.

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.   Isaiah 50 v 10

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