As I crested the hill, I gently engaged my squeaky brakes and pulled off to the side of the road in my old jalopy. Turning off the ignition and rolling down my window, I sat in awe and just stared at the scene before me. It reminded me of one of Thomas Kinkade’s paintings, and instantly transported me back fifty years when my parents drove the family to a lookout above town just to see the lights. The church in the center of town was now dark. Its four-part harmony had been replaced by sounds of laughter coming from homes.
Just as my grade school teacher used her pointer to direct my attention to her posters on the wall, the tall spire on the church directed my eyes towards the heavens. The breeze not only carried laughter, but it kept any smog at bay. The stars were silent witnesses to the power and wisdom of God. My imagination soon carried me beyond the darkened hills and their orchards to the fisherman’s vessel, knowing he was looking at the same night sky that I was. Only he was looking to them for direction to get back home to his family and to fill his home once again with laughter.
The breeze picked up and like tiny fingers slipped into my window and caressed my cheek. Like a soft voice that awakens you from a deep sleep, it brought me back to reality. For the first time, I noticed the tree to my left. It stood as a testimony of times the stars in this picturesque valley were hidden by dark clouds. At some point this straight tree had been forever scarred by a strike of lightning.
This painting reminds me that there are times in life when the scene before you is pleasant. But there are also times when the only source of illumination is from lightning streaking across the sky.