Last night I watched the sun go down through hazy clouds over the Bay while listening to the gentle sloshing of the waves. From where I stood I could see the man-made wonders of the Bay Bridge on my left and the Golden Gate Bridge on my right. When we first arrived at the beach, two airplane tailings perfectly crossed the sun as if to x it out. But the golden sun soon dipped below the x to sit over the land in a final pronouncement of majesty before it began to disappear.
After saying goodnight to this glorious sunset, we traveled back to the hotel through the dusky streets Mapquest directed. The streets emanated dismal, industrial, ghetto. Vision was limited by walls, fences, houses, and trees that confined and encroached. Litter, vulgar advertisements, persistent honking cars jolted us from the peace of the sunset.
We reached our hotel which is situated in the Berkeley Hills and ate dinner at a table overlooking the valley and the Bay. Lifted there on the hill, I could once again see both bridges outlined in lights against the dark night and observed the wonder of the lights shining in yellows, reds, oranges, greens, and blues as if in celebration of something great. From up there on the hill the world was once again beautiful—expansive, enlightening, encouraging.
It made me think about the fact that we often have to pass through the dismal, vulgar, painful parts of life. Those paths are necessary in order to get to the beautiful things God has in store for us. But God has given us temples and scriptures and many other things that will lift us out of the mundane and help us see the bigger, more beautiful picture. When we visit the majestic places often, we not only are encouraged but it gives us memories that can motivate us when traveling the dismal and mundane paths of life.