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waiting for the sun to come up

After a whirlwind of travel, teaching, deadlines, and meetings in the past few months, Dean and I managed to get away for a bit of a warm vacation last week. It was a welcome break from the work and the cold weather. We were both attacked by some ugly, demented plague flu just before our scheduled departure, but we were determined to get on that plane to Cancun even if we had to crawl on our hands and knees. And we did. We arrived pretty much depleted so the first days in Mexico were spent drinking, eating, napping, and marveling at the sensation of being warm.

I usually like to catch the sunrise when I am in a beautiful location with big, unobstructed views, so one morning I woke up early (no alarm necessary), threw on some clothes, and made my way down to the beach. The sun was scheduled to rise at 7:12 am, and when I arrived at the water's edge just before 7 am, there were already a few other people gathered there for the event. Some sat quietly on beach chairs while others were strolling along the sand. I stood and waited. There was a bit of cloud cover at the horizon so I was anticipating quite a show. From past experience I know that clouds make for the most glorious sunrises and sunsets because of all the reflections they give off. Total cloud cover will hide the sun's appearance, but a bit of cloud...well, that's the best case scenario for stunning sunrises.

7:15 am
By 7:15 am the sun was above the horizon and the world was much brighter, but the sky was still dull grey. There was nothing special happening in the sky so most of the people who had come to witness the dawning of a new day left. But I waited. The cloud cover near the horizon was hiding my view of the sun, but I knew that eventually it would peek out, and when it did, it would be worth the wait.

I wondered if I should have spoken to the people who left and told them just to wait a bit longer, that I knew from experience that the best was yet to come. But I didn't. Technically, it was 7:15 am, the sun had risen, and they had seen it.

Thirty minutes later, the sun finally broke through the clouds. And it was "Wow!" I spent a good fifteen minutes snapping pictures, giving thanks to God, running back and forth on the beach, and talking to the birds as we shared that special time of day. I know that others witnessed the same spectacular show, but it felt like a private moment of overabundant beauty and splendour, almost too much to take in.
7:45 am

If I can offer any lessons from my experiences with sunrises, let me tell you that the clouds which at first hide the sun eventually display the most amazing, multi-dimensional reflections of beautiful light and colour that you will ever see. Don't curse the clouds in your life. Also, be patient. Don't expect everything to happen all at once. If you don't see the brilliant sunrise today, then try again tomorrow or next week. The sun is always there, even if we can't see its distinct, glowing orb. Keep looking and it will reveal itself. Photographers know that they cannot make a great shot happen; they can only wait and hope to capture a special moment when it arrives. Let us not miss great beauty in our lives because we are impatient or looking at a clock. Beauty appears when it is ready. Let's hope we are ready, too.

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