Tuesday, January 7, 2014

News from the Northwest- Sunbreaks!

There are so many wonderful parts of this country and each one is unique.  Our daughter and son in law live near Seattle, Washington in one of the high tech corridors that has just about everything a person may want or need in order to be comfortable.  One thing that they have a shortage of, however, especially in the winter, is sunshine.  The weather reporter on the newscast often says the weather will be "Cloudy with a chance of sunbreaks".  I love that word!  I had never heard the word "sunbreaks" used until we visited them about five years ago and heard the it being broadcast.

Sunbreaks happen when the sun breaks through the clouds for a moment or two.  It is often almost undetected because it happens so quickly.  The sky will be so cloudy that you cannot see any blue sky at all, just dark gray everywhere and then when you look up, there is a tiny bit of blue with the sun shining through it, then it is quickly gone.  It may also be that you can see the sun shining somehow through the clouds without being absolutely clear with almost an image that you would think is an eclipse of the sun.  I saw both of those while we were visiting in the Seattle area.  Just as quickly as the sun shone through, it was gone once again.

Sunbreaks are those aha events that make you pay attention.  Your day may be covered with the dark gray of the clouds and then a little light shines through it all as if to speak softly to your spirit.  A sunbreak may even stick around for more than a minute or two and suddenly you find yourself and others looking up into the sky, as if seeing some strange object for the first time.

Sunbreaks could be used as a metaphor for all the things in life that cause us to stop and pay attention in the midst of all the ordinary that happens in our lives.  We often get bogged down in the gray routine of life and do not notice the small things that break into our existence even as the sun shines through the clouds for just a moment or two.  A sunbreak could be that beautiful red cardinal that I saw today when I was at home for lunch and looked out into my backyard.  It was sitting on a gazing ball that we have in our garden area where few plants are living right now.  It perched there for a few minutes, not paying attention to our two dogs who were walking not too far from its perch.  The beauty of its red feathers brightened up our cold day until it finally flew up into a tree.

Perhaps a sunbreak is a person in your life who lifts your spirits or gives you something to think about that invigorates your life for a bit.  My wife and I stayed at a bed and breakfast for a few of the days we were visiting our daughter and son in law so as not to be such a burden on them (remember the words of Ben Franklin--"Fish and visitors begin to smell after 3 days.") and our host and hostess at the B&B were two delightful people to get to know.  They were both so caring and creative, ready to respond to any need we had in order to make our stay with them more comfortable.  Their home was immaculate and their friendliness brightened up each day as we visited with them over breakfast.  They were sunbreaks whose warmth went with us as we ventured out each day to walk in the misty air that often is present there.  We arrived as guests but departed as friends because of their warm care.

Sunbreaks are usually totally unexpected.  Even though the forecasters may have predicted that a sunbreak could happen, he or she never could predict when or where they would happen.  The sunbreaks in our lives are that way.  We never know the source of them until they happen.  Then, we are filled with light and warmth because of their unexpected presence.  We bask in the feeling that they bring and enjoy every moment.

We can be the recipients of sunbreaks from the world around us and from others in our world but we can also be the ones who cause others to enjoy sunbreaks in the dark and cloudy world in which we live.  Our lives can be producers of sunbreaks as we share the joy we have and lend a helping hand to those who may be needy.  We can allow the light we have received to shine through our lives so others will suddenly stop and pay attention and marvel at the light shining on them, as if they have seen it for the first time in their lives. And, for some, perhaps it is.

"You are the light of the world...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works  and give glory to your Father in heaven."  Matthew 5: 14a, 16)

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