God Shows up in the Sunrise

I’ve been trying to mark each day as different during quarantine life. 

Friday nights, our family gets takeout to support a local business and watches a movie together. “Clueless” and “Roman Holiday” have been big crowd pleasers. 

Saturdays, we take a laptop out on the deck and work out to a Zoom bootcamp together. We laugh hysterically when our burpees look nothing like our instructor’s. 

And Sundays before Mass is streamed live into our living room, before I have my morning coffee and before the rest of my family wakes up, I walk the mile downhill to the edge of Lake Washington to watch the sunrise.

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Of course, quarantine life hasn’t been all fun and laughs. Most of the time it feels like that Bill Murray film, “Groundhog Day,” and I wonder when it will end. There have been tears, confusion, and an ache of weariness in our bones. 

And yet.

It’s dark on that walk down the hill. I watch lights turn on within houses as I walk past. I can smell coffee brewing and bacon caramelizing on the stove. The birds start singing on my way and I’ll see a family of raccoons scampering across the street further down the road. They notice me with their beady red eyes and disappear into the shrubbery. The sky starts to turn a shade of steel and I know it’s time to speed up my gate. 

I don’t want to miss it. 

I want to see the sunrise because like the Psalmist, I pray in the morning that God will hear my voice, I plead with him and I wait. (Ps 5:3-5) I want to feel that it is going to be different. 

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I want to see the sunrise because I want to remember that God is still in charge. The sun is still rising every morning. He’s taking care of the big things, like governments and viruses, and he’s taking care of the smaller things, like the health and safety of my little family and the unrest in my heart. 

I want to see the sunrise because I want to see how God is going to show up, not just in the sunrise but in this mess of a pandemic.

I feel as if I am almost daring him to show up. I know he’s here but I want something big.

The sky is still steely blue when I arrive at the lake. My heart calms as I watch the sky transform from azure blue to indigo purple.

A man with a fishing pole walks down the dock and baits his hook. We are the only two people out here on the lake before 6 a.m.. I find a small comfort that I am sharing this with him, even a stranger. I am not alone.

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The sun begins to peek over the Cascade Mountain range and the sky pinks up. Orange reveals itself to meet pink and the sky resembles rainbow sherbet.

“This is lovely,” I pray, “But I want something even bigger. God, fix all of this.”

I know the answer even before I turn to walk back up the hill to home as I hear the words from Ecclesiastes ring in my heart:

The sun rises and the sun sets;

Then it presses on to the place where it rises.

What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. 

Nothing is new under the sun! 

Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!” has already existed in the ages that preceded us. 

(Ecc 1:5,9-10)

There is a strange comfort in that. I think it’s called Hope.