I called my Granmother Nana. She was a painter.
We were walking around the lake one evening when I was a boy, and we stopped to look at the sun going down behind the Smoky Mountains. Nana said, "What a beautiful sunset. Andy, tell me what colors you see."
"Orange," I said, "and red and yellow."
"Is that all?" Nana asked. "Don't you see the blue?"
I squinted west. I really, really wanted to see the blue. Nana said there was blue, and I believed her.
"You are working too hard," she smiled.
"I'm looking for the blue. I can't see it."
"Just relax. Don't look for the blue; just look at the sunset."
Oh, that makes a lot of sense, I thought to myself. My Nana asks me if I can see the blue, then tells me not to look for it.
Don't look for the blue - just look at the sunset.
So, since Nana told me to, I stopped squinting, stopped straining my eyes to pick that blue out of the sunset. I realized I had been hunched over at the shoulders looking so hard for that blue. I stood up straight again, and took a deep breath.
I looked at the sunset. My look turned into a gaze. My gaze kind of turned into a prayer.
You know, in the middle of the deepest red of a sunset sky, there is a dusting of purple. And at the edge of that dusting of purple is a whisper of blue. If you look for it, you will never see it. But when you gaze into the whole sunset, you notice.
Sometimes we are just looking to hard, squinting ourselves up to find the differences and distinctions between and among us. Maybe if we would just relax and look at the whole picture more often, we would be a little bit better off. I think that is what Nana was trying to teach me. The colors of a sunset in my granmother's eye can teach us a lot about living in the midst of God's wonderful world.
Grace and Peace,