On a regular day, I leave the office around 5:15pm to begin a 15-minute walk back home. It’s quite normal for me to head straight for the overpass that allows any pedestrian to get from one side of the highway to the other. I don’t actually need to cross the highway, but the view of the sun setting from up there is something I would almost feel foolish to miss.
First, the moon sits high in the light blue sky as if it were lighting up the day all on its own. Then, as the sun descends below the skyline, a red, pink and orange glow light up the once steel blue sky and daylight slowly fades into dusk. Just before darkness takes over, chalky blues, greys and mauves hover above the trees blending perfectly with the clouds that stretch across the sky, until they sink completely out of sight for yet another day. And it’s nighttime. It’s so beautiful to watch. It’s as if thousands of artists are all imprinting their own creativity in the sky second by second, as the sky changes from one painting to the next, each as beautiful as the last, while assisting my busy mind to fade into relaxation.
This is a time of reflection for me. When I stand on the bridge alone (very few people use this walkway), with the busyness of the streets at rush hour below me, I feel disconnected from it all– the good kind of disconnected. Even though I am so close to the pedestrians and cars fighting their way home, I just need to look around me and not look down, to see the open space free of crowds and cars. And I am free. With my heart and mind at rest, I am able to fully connect again with the creator of this amazing world we live in, while enjoying its clutter free elegance and charm.
As I reflect this afternoon, eyes fixed on the skyline, I am thinking of all the things us individuals, choose to set our eyes on daily. I can’t help but think why we often choose the things we do. I find it a great habit to ask ourselves why. Why did we think up that thought that only polluted our minds taking the space of better ones, and why did we make that certain decision without thinking it through first, without thinking if it would actually contribute to a better us, or a better world? We seem to give up the habit of asking why after our curious childhood years, when we become old enough to assume we know ‘enough’, and give up learning or give up keeping an open mind on things we know too well already… or so we think. We give up being humble. A humble mind which is required to understand that we don’t, and will never know enough.
I have met groups of people that love to hike. They tackle a mountain as if it were a beautiful beast throwing just the right amount of challenges at them, yet not enough to cause any serious harm. They excitedly climb to the top for yet another victory, enjoying each others company and the sites along the way. This has been me on several occasions too.
I have met groups of people that are all anticipating their next visit to their favorite strip club. It might start with the urge of one person in the group who encourages, (without much struggle), the rest of his partners in crime to join. They leave the club satisfied, yet burdened with subconscious shame, until their next fix temporarily camouflages it.
I have met tourists, eager to claim their piece of the natural riches this country offers, such as exotic fruits, white sand beaches, semi-precious stones and so on. This was once me.
I have met Christians who religiously visit their chosen church on Sundays with an open mind, eager to be encouraged by the insights of their favorite pastor, then leave with a mind closed beyond any personal assumptions and judgments of others, often made without the evidence required to judge. I have been guilty of this.
I have met people who love to shop. I can think of many times I thought about shopping for new clothes before thinking of clearing out my overflowing closet from the things I don’t wear, to give to the people who have no clothes to wear.
I have met people that love to spend hours huddled in the corner of their nearest library or book shop, researching historical events, or interesting topics.
The point I’m trying to make (to myself, on this bridge), and remind myself of, is that we all decide what we set our eyes on, and when, from one minute to the next on a daily basis. This is called choice. Along with choice, the people we choose to be a part of our lives, and our surroundings, also influence any decision we make. It can get quite confusing living in a world full of so much options to choose from! There are so many ideas, ideals, attractions, gimmicks, beautiful things, interesting things, desirable people, delicious food, amazing sites, and so on. So how do we find the assistance we need to choose the right things, and not allow those instant decisions we often have to make, to cause us days of regret, or even a lifetime? I have often found myself focusing on negative things day after day, only to finally snap out of it and regret the time I literally threw away, when I could of been enjoying my blessings.
I am challenged daily to…
- Have a better perspective on things.
- Choose a positive outlook instead of a negative one.
- Choose the right influences in my life.
- Make decisions that help bring out the best in me and the people around me.
And I am reminded that I can’t possibly do this alone. Not in a world full of people and things, desperately seeking (often the unhealthy type of) attention before their or its lifespan is up. I have to set my eyes on something much greater than anything of this world. Something that doesn’t have a lifespan or expiry date.
It’s only when I remember this and turn back to God, giving Him my undivided attention, an undivided heart, and a mind eager to learn, from Him who knows better than anyone else, that things fall back into the right place. Only then do I make wiser decisions, instead of entertaining the thoughts of my gluttonous mind.
In short, I know that I can’t possibly have what was intended for me, my best life, even when making simple daily decisions, unless I set my eyes on Him first. This is what will help me make healthier split second decisions when needed, and think through other decisions that come blessed with some time in hand, with the wisdom and intuition that only he can give.
Then… back to the bridge where I stand, I pull myself out of my deepest thoughts and end my time of reflection. It’s dark already and time to head home. A brisk walk through the crowds, in the ‘ever so slightly’ cooler summer air, as the sun no longer permeates my skin, and then I’m home. Another evening has crept up on me and it’s time to rest, read my bible, and gather the knowledge I need to accomplish yet another day.