As I am getting my coffee this morning, I look out my kitchen window, which faces east. The sun is still low on the horizon with its oranges, pinks and purples lighting the sky. I notice that my neighbor’s yard looks ablaze. I do a double take. At first, I think they must have yard lights on it is so bright. Then I realize that because their house faces east, that is the sun lighting up their yard. It has hit it just right and I have been lucky enough to catch the sight!
It is amazing what we can see when we really look. I was fortunate to go out a few days with friends last fall on “fun days.” We would take off driving and go wherever the car/driver led us. We would stop when someone wanted and take pictures or if someone had a particular destination in mind, it could be requested. One of the women, who has studied photography, in this group said something that has run through my mind ever since. About an hour and a half before sunset one day, she became excited and said, “we have to get to the park now, it is almost the golden hour.” I asked what “the golden hour” was and she explained that it was the hour when the sun/light was “perfect” for taking pictures.
I had never thought about a time of day when the sun was “perfect.” I have always thought the sun was pretty perfect all the time. Of course, I had never thought about the “light” for pictures, other than not taking them facing the sun. Since then, I have paid more attention to some of the photographers I know who take landscape pictures. They almost always use the time around sunset to light their work. I do not mean that their pictures are of the sunset, but the picture has the light of the sunset in it, the “golden hour.”
As I think about the “golden hour,” I can’t help but think of it as a metaphor for our lives. So many of us spend our entire lives working to make a living, trying to “find” ourselves, and running the “rat race” of life. Until our “golden hours” arrive. Suddenly, the light is right! We can see our soul again! The soul we could see in our childhood, but lost when we had commitments and bills; when the “rat race” overwhelmed us. And when we see our soul, our passion comes alive! We can see what we want to do, what we want to be and the path to getting there. The blessing in the “golden hour” is that it illuminates it all before us, all we have to do is…GO.
It sounds so simple, to just “go.” It never is. We have to walk past the darkness of our fear and that stops a lot of people. The biggest fears I have heard are: 1) What would people think?; 2) What if I give up what I have and I end up not liking the new thing?
Most people who think they know me, would say I worry very little about what other people think. People who really know me, know that I worry way too much about what some people think! I am trying to get past that. I know that I can’t please anyone, so I’ve got to please myself (okay I started singing that line, you can sing along if you know the song)! It’s the emotional part of me that I am still trying to convince. It no longer stops me from doing what I want, however. Now, I try to just do what I need/want to do and let “them” deal with how they feel about it. I guess it all comes down to living your own life or allowing someone else to live your life for you; whether you want to be free or be a prisoner.
As to the second fear, what’s to say you cannot go back if you do not like what your soul is leading you to? I do not, however, believe that will happen. I do not think the soul is ever “wrong.” Our listening skills may be off. We may “hear” what we want to hear, and not what our souls are really telling us. We may be too afraid to listen at that time, so opportunities may pass us by. But I do not believe that our true soul leads us in the wrong direction. We just have to be able to really hear it. That takes a lot of quiet time and reflection.
Maybe that is why the light of the “golden hour” is so special. Maybe that is why we can see things so differently through the lens when the light shines so distinctly at that time. Its the time when things quiet down, become still and start to settle in for the night. It is the time when we can listen and truly hear, without distractions of the day.