After a long, productive work day on Friday, Page 336 began with the soundtrack of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in my mind. I suspect I’m strange, but not so strange that my thoughts are unique to me. It is easy to start feeling like I don’t belong, or if I belong anywhere it is on the “Island of Misfit Toys”. Comparisons have a way of doing that. Sometimes we start wishing we had the gift, ability, talent, or whatever of someone else and other times we just with the gift, ability, talent, or whatever that we actually have would be noticed or appreciated like those of others. One of the sad parts of this type of thinking is that those whom we wish we were like often have others that they wish they could be like. Today wrapped up a week’s prayer focus on contentment and it seems to be at the heart of being satisfied with doing our best at being the unique person that God created me to be. You do remember the end of Rudolph, right? When given the opportunity to use his unique gift, he became a hero and went “down in history!” A good follow-up to my initial morning soundtrack was the song with these words, “A child of the King, a child of the King, with Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King!”
It was a beautiful early December day, so we headed out for a Saturday family adventure. We made our way up the Lake Michigan shoreline, to photograph lighthouses and whatever else we could find. My GPS took us across the channel from the lighthouses that were going to be our first stop, so we took a few photos from where we were and continued our way north with the plan to stop back by on the proper side on our way home. One of my favorite lighthouses on the west Michigan shoreline is the Big Sable Point Lighthouse near Ludington. Surrounded by a state park, it is a 1.8 mile walk from the parking lot to the lighthouse. The walk itself is a beautiful stroll among the sand dunes and some wooded areas. Part of the beauty is its remote location that is surrounded with rolling sand dunes and water, giving a variety of perspectives and angles to photograph it from. While there, we crossed paths with a couple of guys who were on a prayer retreat — I’m not sure if that’s what they called it, but they had rented a cabin in order to get away and spend time with God as they reflected on “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” They originally came over to where I was because they noticed Susan in her wheelchair and were impressed that we had brought her out to enjoy such vast beauty. They even offered to help in our return trip back to the truck, so I thanked them and assured them that we were doing okay. It is fun to watch how Susan’s unique abilities are used to encourage others and brighten their day.
After taking a bunch of photos at the lighthouse, we began our 1.8 mile walk back to the truck. We did stop at Grand Haven on the way home and was able to find the side of the channel that the lighthouses were actually on. By then the sun was getting low in the sky, so we stretched out our time in order to photograph the sunset — which really wasn’t much of a stretch as the sun sets shortly after 5 PM. It had gotten rather cloudy, but the clouds helped to light up the sky with color after the sun had officially set. It was beautiful and we kept shooting photos as each moment seemed somehow unique and captivating. Eventually the color disappeared from the sky and the full moon rose behind us, shining brightly even in the midst of a night-time haze. We made our way back home, with a stop to eat on the way, and wrapped up the day going through the photos we had taken. Today’s photo was taken as I was playing with camera settings trying to capture the sun shining through the top of the lighthouse. It made me think of the line of the hymn that says, “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- If all reindeer had red noses, we would probably never sing about Rudolph.
- Sometimes it is difficult to figure out where our unique giftings can make a positive difference in the lives of others, but if we’re not out using them we will probably never find out why we have them.
- Since this world is not my home, I will probably always have a certain level of not belonging.
- As a child of the King, I have a better home that I look forward to as I journey here on earth.
- Even the best technology can lead you to the wrong location if it doesn’t have accurate information.
- There are a lot of people who think they know the way to heaven . . . I will stick with Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
- Sometimes the journey is longer than we would like or more difficult than we would like, but we keep going because we know the destination is worth it.
- Knowing our intended destination is key to figuring out how to get there.
- Sunsets are a good reminder of God’s creativity. Each moment seems to be another unique masterpiece.