Sometimes the most beautiful scenes are in the rearview mirror looking back on our lives.
We have been driving most of the evening, leaving San Francisco and heading south towards Pismo Beach. We had hoped to reach the beach by sunset, but alas it was not meant to be today. Instead as we rounded the curve, and my attention was focused eastward at what we presumed to be a large fire, with smoke billowing over the rolling hills. I have always been fascinated with fire, but the idea of the fires of California being close to me, I was not so sure about.
As I was focused on the fire to the east, I heard my sister pipe up from the driver’s seat “Look back there.” The sun was setting on the rolling hills behind us. And while I couldn’t capture the beauty, with the moving car, the lights, and the bumpy road, the hills were lit up with shades of yellow, orange, and red as the sun slowly faded behind us.
I might not have been able to capture it, but I did get to experience it in the moment. It was beautiful to behold. She got to experience it completely through the rearview mirror.
I realize life is often like that too. So often we get so distracted by everything going on around us, that we miss the beauty of life. It is only in looking in the rearview mirror that we are able to see the beauty that we have left behind. Like the diamond that is left after the pressure, or the refined gold left after the fire.
As I look back at my life, those times where I found myself most distracted is where God brought out the beauty of what my life is meant to be. The lessons that I learned, looking back, are some of the tools I have used to help others the most. As I look at the changes that have occurred in my life, those changes were brought about in the times I was most distracted by the world going on around me. I would be focused on one thing, when God was bringing about a change in another area.
When I was focusing on the issues in my marriage, God was refining my temperament. When I was focused on my career, God was drawing me closer to Him. When I was focused on parenting, God was changing my heart. As I was taking care of my mother, God was tearing down the walls of self-protection. Looking back, those are some of my most beautiful memories in life. I sometimes missed it all in the moment, but I can appreciate the beauty from the rearview mirror.