The moment after the masterpiece
“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”
Temporarily. I mean how long does a sunrise last?
I wandered down the driveway to collect the newspaper this morning, but on the way I knew something special was waiting. I could see the pinkish glow reflecting off asphalt and mailbox and flowers. Even the plastic wrap on the paper was tinted in neon.
I looked up to the East and drew in my breath at the scattered layers of brilliance amid gray shadows of mellow. Amazing. What kind of glow could cause such illumination? Surely I could never look directly into its face. Yet its reflection on the clouds made it even more lovely, and allowed me to look upon it. And keep looking. Trying to etch it in my mind.
Because this moment, this view, this sunrise would be gone in moments. What a waste. That I am the only one who will see it. This masterpiece was painted specifically and only for me.
I wanted to preserve it. To hold onto and keep it. I debated whether to run inside and get my phone for a photo. But that would waste precious viewing moments and, by the time I returned, some of the beauty would have run out of it. So, I stood and traced the view in my mind. Recalling the painting-with-imaginary-paint-brushes that my youngest daughter and I used to do when we saw loveliness like this. I tried so hard to force myself to remember this. To make it permanent.
Alas, my human nature took hold of me, reminding me how prone I am to forgetting things. And yes, I did. I ran in to get the phone and zipped back out only to snap a couple very inadequate photos.
They bore out two things:
- I am not much of a photographer
- It’s a good thing that Peter, James and John did not have iPhones on the Mount of Transfiguration. They would have insisted Elijah, Moses and Jesus smile for a photo.
And then the disappointment set in as the Master drained the colors from His morning. Gradually, gracefully, permanently, in a way that said, “Show is over.” With no “Next show starts at 10.” It was a one time performance for me.
Such is life on earth. Secular. Timed. Measured. Temporary.
Yet, even if it’s not recorded, filmed or documented, it is still memorialized. In the minds and hearts of those who have seen it and been touched by it. We change each other this way. Just as Jesus, Moses and Elijah changed Peter, James and John. None of these moments are ever wasted.
It’s just that our lives are lived, not on the mount of transfiguration, but in the moment after the masterpiece. When we return to our daily, with a lingering sense of gratitude and the youthful expectation that, at any moment, wonder will burst in.
The colors may dim, but the Glory never fades.