“[God] has put eternity into the hearts of men.” – Ecc. 3:11

Stepping out of my door at 6:35am to run is usually more endurance training that art appreciation, but this morning was different.  Like pulling the dust cover off of a forgotten painting and realizing that it’s a priceless Monet, the morning sky on this day was different.  It was as if, on this morning, God had taken out His “good” brushes and paints and pulled out all the stops, spreading the sky with layer upon layer of rich cobalts and vivid hues of peach.  Each cloud was textured and well-formed, so clearly defined, like thick strokes of fresh oil paint on burlap canvas.

It took my breath away. (Or maybe that was the running, but you know what I mean!)

Such a sight, such a feeling from the experience… THESE are the moments you want to save.  These glimpses of the vast creativity and wonder of God are what make you wish for some magic box to put moments in, some way to freeze-frame an event or experience and come back to it when you need a boost.

And yet, we all know the truth… You can’t catch the sunrise.

In fact, it isn’t four minutes before the clear strokes begin to blur, lines melting into globs, distinct colors fading into general shades, on and on until the sun is up in all its glory, but the painting in the sky is gone for good, never to return.

The thing is, even though everybody knows you can’t save these moments, we still look back and wish we could.  Even though we know the truth, something deep inside us longs to hold on to things that we know can never last, and feels the loss when the inevitable occurs.

Ever wonder why?

Here’s what I think.  I think the reason we wish we could save the sunrise moments, is because we know that if somehow we could, it would help us make sense of all the other moments, too.

You see, somehow, though our days are spent one by one, stuck in the linear current we call “time”, there is still a deep feeling in all of us life is more than unrelated moments strung together with minutes and seconds.  Whether we can define it or not, we all know there really is something beyond our timeline, and in those sunrise moments, it calls to us with the sweetest voice.

In those moments when the sky explodes in color and we stop to drink it in, what we feel is that we have just stuck our hand out of the narrow current of time, and into the sea of eternity.  We wish we could save them because something in us knows that these moments of eternity are infinitely more real than all the other ones, but because we can’t save these moments of eternity, we are left in a bit of a quandary as to what to do with them.

Some will say to ignore them… “That’s just life, get used to it”, but to do this, something inside us has to die.  Others say to look inside ourselves… “the answer lies within”, but that makes no sense because the reason the sunrise moments speak to us is that eternity is outside ourselves to begin with!  That leaves us with only one other option: seek the source outside.

The Bible tells us, “[God] has put eternity into the hearts of men.” (Ecc. 3:11), which is a pretty good explanation of what happens in the sunrise moments.  If there is an element of eternity inside our hearts, it must have come from somewhere, and if it is God who put it there, then there must be more to it than just momentary sunrises.

Phillip Gonzales
8/23/08