If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you might remember all of the sunset photos I would post when I first moved here to rural, small-town Minnesota. This was over five years ago! I was in awe of the endless horizon, the sea of fields around me in every direction, the expanse of the sky above me. It honestly blew me away. I’ve always been quick to turn to thoughts of worship when it comes to natural beauty around me. It’s just an inclination that many of us have. We look at the jaw-dropping beauty of creation around us and we immediately feel drawn to our Creator. And for me, with all of the dramatic sunsets I was witnessing being painted across the sky here, it naturally drew my eyes up! Bjorn and I, we’d go road chasing in the evenings, following dusty dirt roads until we just had to pile out of the truck and snap photos of the orange backdrop of sky!
You may not have noticed this, but I’ve been posting fewer sunset photos lately. Road chasing is one of my very favorite things – to get lost in a whirling world of sunset glow – but it doesn’t happen much anymore.
My evenings are filled with sticky hands and cleaning cheese out of the highchair. My late afternoons are packed with little-girl giggles and squishy cheeks to kiss. My days are full of little needs and big needs – and to a baby, a lot of it feels like an emergency! Instead of a wide-open expanse of sky to gallivant about in, my evenings have been reassigned to a cozy, tiny home in a cozy, tiny town. There are times when I look up at the slanting orange evening light, working its way across our wallpaper, in the midst of wiping a nose and chasing around the slap-slap of crawling baby hands…and I miss it. I’ve missed another day out there. Or have I? My attentions can’t be out out out there. But my intention is in here, with this little soul and her precious little life…and I love it. Baby-girl and I, we do our own form of road chasing, but it comes in sync with the tail end of a grocery trip 40 minutes away – when we’re on the final 11-mile straight stretch of road, and that glorious late afternoon light slants across her sleeping face, and my Spotify playlist is lulling us both into dreamy happiness. We chase the light all through the day as best as we can, pushing her tractor toy in the glowy jewels of morning sun downstairs…then following that light upstairs to snuggle with stuffed animals in her bright, happy room before supper. We make sure to look out, to sing “Good morning, God” as we push the drapes open together, to press our palms against the cold glass and look up up up. We point at birds whirling in the sky, and we twirl our hands around and around so that the yellow sun speckles our hands through the lace curtains. And then, we breathe deep and slow and say goodnight to the world as we draw the shade down and it’s time to nurse – the day concludes, and the last glow of another missed sunset peeks around the side of the window.
I could be all-sad, I could sink into the bitter of this bittersweet season. Because I can’t be out there whenever I want. I sure can push bedtimes and force skipped naps, but it’s not kind nor is it wise. And no matter what, I can’t lose myself out there with no cares and with abandon – because a little soul relies on me! So, I relinquish my own desires. I lean into what motherhood is meant to be – the giving of myself, with eternal goals.
I may not be out there chasing autumn’s sunsets this year, and there may be a whole span of years in which a baby’s bedtime takes precedence over traipsing through dirt roads and staring up at the sky. Golden hour has changed for me – in location, in meaning, in priority. I’ve found I’m still in awe of God the Creator, I’m still gazing up at His faithfulness and creativity and beauty. But my gazing up doesn’t have to come from a golden hour outing outside. A new kind of golden hour soaks its saturated light into my days, in this season. My gazing-up worship of Him can be found just as well, here, in my cozy home, in the sweet sleeping breaths of baby-girl, in my heart.