The morning after Ryan's funeral the boys all wanted to go to school. I'm sure it was their way of coping...trying to put their life back normal.
That morning I fed the dog, opened the back door and invited him outside to do his business. It was September and the warm morning sun felt soothing on my cold face. I stepped out into the backyard and looked up to the sky.
Leaves fell gently from the birch trees and danced around my head. I closed my eyes for a moment and listened to the rustle of the warm breeze flutter through the branches. And when I opened my eyes again, squinting at the brightness of the suns rays, I saw the sky alive with drifting clouds and birds flying peacefully through my line of sight. The magnificent blue color brought tears to my eyes. To my left something caught the corner of my eye, and as I turned I was amazed to see a white butterfly. It hovered by me for a moment and then flew upward. I watched it disappear into the distance in awe.
It was a tender moment as the words from the funeral echoed through consciousness:
"When the birds fly...I am there.
When the breeze rustles the branches...I am there."
Ryan was there. In that moment I felt him envelope my body in love and tender care.
I had never felt closer to heaven than in that moment.
And as I struggled days after to hold onto my faith...I often looked back to that moment to draw strength from.
And then THIS happened.
When I had that experience of watching the sunset, and felt it witness to me that Ryan is in paradise...well ever since then, I haven't stopped looking up.
The sky has become my anchor.
When I am anxious or down, I look up and see the bigger picture. It is like I am afforded a small glimpse into heaven and it brings me inexplicable peace.
Has the sky always been so completely luminescent? So transformative? So beautiful?
Have I really spent so many years with my head down, absorbed in my own life, so brazenly overlooking the brilliance that is the sky?
The perspective I have when I look at the beauty above me changes me. I see that my problems are small in the grand scheme of things. I see that God created the heavens and the Earth, and if He can do that, certainly I can trust Him with my future. Certainly my purpose here means something.
One would think that spending so much time looking up at the sky would make me feel small and inconsequential.
But in fact it creates in me a desire to reach a divine potential that I know is somewhere inside of me. It causes me to feel the measure of my creation, and that moment when I pause to take it all in is always deeply reverent, deeply moving, deeply inspiring.
Is it any wonder I am obsessed with the sky these days?
It makes me feel closer to God. Closer to Ryan. Closer to Heaven.
Closer to understanding the kind of person I want to be...to become.
I take a dozen pictures or so every day. My poor Facebook friends are spammed with my images. But the sky is so amazing, I just have to share.
Which I know is a bit crazy...because anyone can see what I see. Anyone can have the epiphanies, and the moments of grace that I enjoy.
All they would have to do, is simply look up.
Which is what makes it so brilliant. I don't think coming closer to our God is harder than just letting Him in. Thinking about Him. Trusting Him. I'm pretty sure that is all He asks of us.
Well that, and trying to do our best.
The storms come, and they are hard, and dark, and depressing.
But the peace for me comes from knowing that the sky is always bluest...the clouds are always fluffiest...after a storm blows through.
We just have to endure the dark days.
And thankfully, it's easier to do so when there is so much beauty waiting to peek through, right above us. Behind those storm clouds? Behind the socked in fog bank? There is bright amazing blue waiting for us.
And that my friends...is called hope.
And that my friends...is called hope.