Years ago, the trademark symbol of one of the television networks was a stylized peacock with vivid multi-colored tail feathers. The words “brought to you in living color,” along with the peacock, preceded programing. Perhaps the trademark originated when television transitioned from black and white to color. Regardless, it was a vivid visual image that left a lasting impression.
Thus far, 2020 has been a year of uncertainty, upheaval, and unprecedented circumstances. In the midst of all the clamor, vivid impressions have been etched on my mind, providing clarity and insight. Following are some of the areas of heightened awareness:
The Beauty of Nature
As I sat on our deck one morning, I became startlingly aware of the vivid colors around me. Multiple shades of green danced in a light breeze beneath an azure sky. The purply-pinks, reds, and oranges of potted flowers blazed in sharp contrast to interspersed whites and greens. Even the brown and tan of a hawk perched high on a limb above pulsed with life, color, and movement.
In these days of staying at home and slowing our pace, nature has become even more beautiful and treasured. This year nature seems to have a freshness that produces a strong impression on the senses and reminds us of the complexity and wonder of creation. Take time to enjoy the colors, sounds, and sights of nature.
The Fragility and Brevity of Life
Last week, I learned of the death of a childhood friend. Although I knew she had health challenges and hadn’t seen her in years, the news of her death was sobering and reminded me how fragile our bodies are.
Others, those in my parents’ generation, who had an impact on my life as I was growing up have also died in recent months, highlighting the brevity of life. And as COVID-19 spreads, we realize that no age group or level of fitness renders us immune to this virus.
Mortality is something most of us don’t want to discuss, but if we’re wise, we can learn from what is happening during these days. Realize it is never to late to work on relationships, to extend forgiveness, to say you’re sorry, to reach out to others, to change destructive habits, to strengthen your faith, and to make health a priority. If there has ever been a time to remove blinders and view the vivid nature of what is going on around us, it’s now.
Areas that Need Work
Slowing down provided an opportunity for times of reflection. When you’re constantly on the move, it’s easy to put off to a later date introspection and honest evaluation. While our country groans with the side-effects of injustice, and the emotions of fear and frustration about a pandemic that brings with it many unknowns, each of us can look within to determine areas in thought and actions that need re-evaluation and adjustment.
“Respect” is a word that stands vivid in my mind – respect for each other, those in authority, and for God. While we’ll never totally get it right because we are flawed, willful, and human, that doesn’t excuse us from making an effort. Forward motion is contingent on honest self-evaluation and personal change.
One of the biggest challenges of this year has been the intense level of negativity and criticism we are bombarded with on a daily basis. From the virus death count to acts of violence to angry voices, it feels as if negativity controls our world and our lives. That is why it is so important to look for, acknowledge, and give thanks for blessings, especially simple ones.
Last weekend, our family gathered to celebrate Father’s Day. We swam with little people, snuggled babies, laughed, and broke bread together. The joy of being in a familiar setting with family, removed from the strife and disharmony around us, provided refreshment and renewal. The joy of that day still lingers.
Pause to identify and give thanks for the blessing of family, faith, friends, and health. Cherish each one well.
The Elusiveness of Peace
Life is always uncertain. That fact has become more vivid during these days. The thieves of peace are many: anger, fear, dissatisfaction, envy, greed, to name a few. If you allow it, people, and circumstances, will rob you of peace. Peace is linked to trust, trust connected to hope, and hope tied to faith.
Vivid reminders of God’s love and protection are all around us, even when our world feels out of control. Only by acknowledging God as Creator and Sustainer of life can we experience true peace.
What has become more vivid for you this year?
“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 MSG
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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