You’re a Sunset
My husband and I recently went on a date night to a place that teaches you how to paint. In one night, they were to transform us into professional painters. Okay, well, maybe not professional painters, but if my work didn’t end up looking like my one-year-old daughter did it, that was progress enough for me. Together, he and I scoured their upcoming classes and perused all the pictures they planned to teach each night. It didn’t take long before we settled on a portrait of a beautiful, blazing sky entitled “Sunset Paradise” and enrolled for the class.
When we got there, we signed in and took a seat. Soon, the magic began. The instructor took us step-by-step through mixing our paints together on the canvas to create a perfect peach sunset. “When you like the way it looks, STOP painting,” she said into her microphone. Unsure, I globbed some bright yellow paint onto my canvas, threw in a touch of red, then glazed over all of it with white. Before I knew it, I actually liked the way it looked. So, I stopped.
“Okay,” the teacher said. “Now we’re going to use black. Be very careful with black because it’s really hard to fix if you mess up.”
My hands trembled as I tried to draw the shadowy palm tree. Don’t mess up, don’t mess up, don’t mess up. I glanced over at my husband’s art and marveled. His leaves were wispy and fun. The color of his ocean was perfectly realistic. His sun actually appeared to be slipping below the horizon. It was beautiful.
Then I looked at mine. My leaves were much bulkier, my sun was way bigger, and my white flecks on the ocean looked more like worms than sparkles on the water.
But I did it. And it actually looked like a sunset. It was beautiful.
It reminded me of something a wise man recently said: “You know, we can explain what a sunset is. We know its relative position to the earth, and how it appears to rise and fall over the horizon. But no one can explain – or at least they haven’t explained to me – why we think a sunset is so beautiful.”
So what makes something beautiful, beautiful? Is it true what they say: Is beauty truly in the eyes of the beholder?
Imagine you are to standing with someone on the shore of paradise, watching the biggest star light up the dusk. The sky is on fire with orange and magenta as the waves crash at your feet.
“Eh, I’m not that impressed,” the person besides you says and shrugs. “I’ve seen a lot of other sunsets that were much prettier than this.”
Would that really mean it wasn’t pretty? Was there no beauty in what you just witnessed? Or did your companion simply fail to appreciate the beauty that was there?
You glance back at the large bulb in the sky just before it extinguishes itself in the ocean. For a few more moments, the clouds are illuminated by the remnants of its light.
No, it was definitely beautiful.
The same is true with you: You are a sunset. People can (and probably will) point out every detail and scrutinize every inch of your body. They may say you are too much of something or not enough of something else. They may say they’re not impressed with you or that other people are prettier. But does that really mean you are not beautiful? Or does it simply mean that person failed to recognize your beauty?
You see, God was the artist who created you. He used all sorts of brushes and infinite shades of color. He scrutinized over each detail of who you are, and He was very intentional with His work. The color of your hair, the shape of your nose, the length and width of your body. What you like, what you don’t like. Your strengths and weaknesses. Everything. He put it all together, step-by-step, according to His own vision of how you should look. I imagine after so long of mixing you together, stroke by stroke, paint by paint, He looked at you and marveled.
You were beautiful.
And when He liked the way you looked, He stopped painting.