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At times, I wish I could be more spontaneous or be an exceptional dancer or a world traveler.
We've all pondered these words which are fit only for far off dreams and past reflection; they often are wistful and elusive. But dreams can also carry hope in many forms and that is what these thoughts are about - not a spirit of discontent, but rather an admiration for things that are just beyond my grasp.
An inspirationally whimsical post* by one of my favorite authors a few months ago intertwined with my thoughts and helped surface them in the wintry place in which I have found myself these days. She reminded me that even the dreams which seem to have died are not lost. Dreams are seeds, planted in the hopeful soil of our souls. Yet, we often forget that, sometimes, seeds remain dormant - waiting for the right moment to break ground and sprout into new life.
Many of my dreams lie in creativity - a passion for writing, art, photography, literature and many other things and at times, it seems, too many. Yet there is a deep serenity that pours out through creativity - it is both inspiring and replenishing. To create is to share a part of your heart with those around you in a beautiful reflection of yourself. I’ve wondered; how do I shift these projects from hobbies into the realm of business and marketing? Presently, I create when the inspiration strikes; without the price tags and the pressure of doing something for commercial purposes. Would it change if I labelled it as a ‘job’?
Futhermore, I ask myself - what makes me stand out amongst the many other artists and writers out there? What is required in order to “make it”? People often have conflicting traits - I have seen this in myself very clearly over the years. I’m creative, yet sometimes I lack focus and follow-through. I’m also diligent but my circumstances have challenged me and allowed for procrastination to tip the balance. Perfectionism hinders my progress, oftentimes. Even so, I have considered - what if I could overcome these challenges? What if they are in place so that I might become focused, refined, flexible and balanced? After all, “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” (Indeed, that’s a quote from Disney - Mulan, in fact - it’s a good quote).
Perhaps challenges are what remove the haze, disrupt the routines and draw us out of complacency. What if we weren’t so quick to dismiss them as mere annoyances and obstacles? Could they actually help us find our place, our style, our essence?
Distraction, paired with unnecessary busyness, can easily confine you to a glass prison - one which you can peer out of, yet often struggle to identify what precisely is keeping you there. It has become difficult to tune out or filter the wide array of constant content and information in this hyper-technological age. Solace becomes elusive because we forget to find it.
There are many places in this world which offer us solace; a break from the stress and constant busyness of our everyday lives. At times, we become so complacent with the fast pace of society that we forget to seek out those moments where we can be completely content in that precise moment.
Wistful whims, delayed dreams, and that sought after solace may seem elusive or even impossible from where you stand. However, life is full of seasons - beautiful seasons, all different for their time - which nurture and tend those tiny seeds hidden away in the depths of our hearts and souls. Remember to cherish the moments of your life, whether significant or subtle. They will exist but once, then pass as a shadow into memory; still never lost, nor held too tightly - lest we miss the journey’s next bend.
* the link to the blog post I mentioned (by Robin Jones Gunn) - Has Your Dream Died?
There is a misunderstanding that forgiveness is the same as condoning a wrong action. However, this is a problem with perspective, not forgiveness itself. Forgiveness does not say that one is accepting a wrongdoing, it means that they are accepting the person who committed the wrongdoing. This may seem like it is splitting hairs, but the distinction is important. The reason being is that we all make mistakes; some more grave than others, but they all have consequences. Our wrong choices sometimes cause us to realize who we do not want to become and we deviate from the path we were headed on. While our choices guide our lives and essentially determine where we end up, they are not necessarily who we are; for there is still room for change. To hold one wrong action against a person, with no allowance for them to have changed, means that you should be held to the same standard. Anything that you have done wrong, would be held against you in the same way because, measured with that same standard, it would be who you are.
We all have done wrong to someone in our lives and we've all needed to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is grace enough to realize that though not even one of us deserves a second chance, we understand that perhaps we need the second chance to become the person we could be; for we are all imperfect and the realization of that grants us humility. It is wanting what is best for someone else despite what they have done. Seeing who they are and wanting them to be free of whatever holds them or causes them to be weak.
When we are wronged and consequently, hurt, we feel a need to hurt the one who wronged us. This emotion is called anger and it is a natural response to pain. However, when anger is harboured, it turns to bitterness and this prevents the pain from actually healing. It is like an infection. Until it is purged, it will continue to cause pain, over and over again. How does one purge bitterness?
When forgiveness is asked of us, it can almost seem like putting salt on a wound. If you've been hurt, why should you have to be the one to give? They should give you something, right? Maybe they have. If they have realized what they did was wrong and that they hurt you, they probably have apologized; or tried to. While it sometimes feels like an apology is not enough, a heartfelt apology gives you the opportunity to let go of bitterness by choosing to show mercy to the person who hurt you. This does not mean that justice is lost. All actions have consequences and forgiveness does not mean that those consequences are removed. It means that your bitterness against that person is removed. Just as salt on a wound stings, it also disinfects and heals. You will benefit from this choice as well, not only the person whom you have forgiven. Both parties can move forward and start healing, instead of holding the past in front of them and feeling that heartache continually.
When we look at a person and the choices that they have made, we see a picture of their life and where those decisions have taken them. If they have gone down a wrong path and by some turning point in their lives, admitted their wrong choices and asked God for forgiveness, this is called repentance. It is a realization that there was something wrong in their life and a desire to make it right - a trek back to the right path that they strayed from. The reason God honors this is that he looks at our hearts. He sees who we are, despite our faults and loves that person. He knows both mercy and justice, very similar to how a parent views their wayward child - loving them deeply, yet knowing that they may need to experience pain in order to learn what is right. He has asked us to love others in the same way that he has loved us; to forgive, that we may be forgiven and not judge, lest we be judged.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” - I Corinthians 13:4-7
Sitting in Starbucks, looking out the window, my gaze was suddenly captivated by the thousands of tiny glimmers sparkling across the snow that blanketed the ground. Like diamonds, I thought. I also thought of how many marvels pass our eyes daily and we scarcely take note. When these joys become common, we have lost a little bit of something valuable in life. The stars glistening on a clear night. A rainbow appearing after the rain. The sound of thunder cracking. The brilliance of lightening streaking the sky. Raindrops resting on a bed of petals. All of these things happen even in the absence of our notice. The common becomes rare in the escape of our observation.
Interestingly, all of them relate, in some way, to light. Light is the thread of our visual perception. It affects the way we view and perceive every physical object. Could your mind conceive light if it did not currently exist? Can you comprehend all that is does at any given second of the day across the entirety of the universe? Here's a perplexing thought - our minds cannot even imagine a new color outside of our visible portion of the spectrum of light.
“The visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to (can be detected by) the human eye. Electromagnetic radiation in this range of wavelengths is called visible light or simply light. A typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 380 to 750 nm.”
“The 'visible window' is so called because it overlaps the human visible response spectrum. The near infrared ... windows lie just out of human response window, and the Medium Wavelength IR ... and Long Wavelength or Far Infrared ... are far beyond the human response region.
Many species can see wavelengths that fall outside the “visible spectrum.” Bees and many other insects can see light in the ultraviolet, which helps them find nectar in flowers. Plants species that depend on insect pollination may owe reproductive success to their appearance in ultraviolet light, rather than how colorful they appear to us. Birds too can see into the ultraviolet (300-400 nm), and some have sex-dependent markings on their plumage, which are only visible in the ultraviolet range.” *
We cannot completely capture they way that light affects our surroundings and the beautiful scenes and artistic phenomenons that it allows. Sure, we can take a photograph, but even then our eyes see more than the lens of the camera will capture. We truly can; however, enjoy those moments when our world is painted around us in a living picture and be grateful that the background to our lives is so awe inspiring and something so complex that our minds would be at a loss to fathom it without having first witnessed it.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” - Genesis 1: 1-5 **
* Wikipedia - Visible Light
** The Holy Bible, King James Version
To read how color relates to light, visit Wikipedia - Color
Nature's Gems. God's creativity never ceases to amaze me.
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