I used to love sunsets. Like, super nerdy, pull-out-my-phone-to-take-a-picture in love with sunsets. I waited all day for the evening to come, when I'd head to the front door to check the sunset quality (for said photo taking).
Now, sunsets just make me sad.
My marital home -- the one I moved out of 4 months ago when I decided divorce was the best option -- faced west and was just two miles from the white sand beaches and green waters of the Emerald Coast. With that location, came the most beautiful sunsets I'd ever seen.
Something about the watercolor oranges, pinks and blues mixing together like controlled, artistic madness made me emotional (in the good way) and would even get me teary-eyed, simply because of the overwhelming beauty. I loved comparing my photos from different months, seasons and years, reminding myself how great a Creator to show me such splendor.
When I left my husband, I moved across town to a new house facing north, tucked away under hundred year old oak trees, with no horizon in sight. I found myself longing for many things during those first few weeks alone in my new house, but most days, I ached to see the sunset again.
I missed the sunsets from my old house so much, I even text my ex-husband and asked him to snap a photo from my old front yard to send me. That day, I could partially see a fiery, red and pink fall sunset happening in the sky over my new house, but I wanted my old view. Turns out, he wasn't home, but a few weeks later, out of the blue, he texted me a photo of a beautiful (kinda blurry) sunset happening a few thousand miles away, where he was on vacation for Christmas.
"I know you like sunsets..." the text read.
Right then, I was grief-stricken and love-struck at the same time. In our time living together in our west-facing house, he hadn't ever really shared my joy in sunsets. I never received sunset photo texts from him, and I often wished for more thoughtfulness during our marriage.
It was sorrowful to see the photo from him show up on my phone just days after our divorce was finalized. Equally as confusing was how much I loved him in that moment, because I knew it meant he thought of me when he saw a beautiful sunset.
But I knew a photo couldn't save us. As a wife, I wasn't the best at acknowledging when my husband tried to be thoughtful. If it didn't look how I expected it to look, I couldn't see it. Getting that photo from him was a reminder to me that I was part of the breakdown of my marriage.
Those sunsets at my marital home brought tranquility and gratefulness to my soul. And in a time when my relationship was filled with uncertainty and frustration, the sunsets gave me hope. I could trust they'd surely disappear, just like the problems we argued about that day, and a sunrise would follow with the possibility of another chance to try again.
There was a beautiful sunset today. I could tell because the sky lit up with a burnt orange and bright pink sky so high, I could see it beneath the oak trees of my new house.
I thought about how beautiful it must look from my old house. My heart and mind wandered, and I wished I was back at my west-facing home, with a healed marriage, and the ability to be amazed and inspired by the sunset. But just as quickly as I let my thoughts wander to what might-have-been, sadness swept over me. I closed the blinds and waited for the sunset to end.
I wish I still felt hopeful when I see a sunset. But I don't.
Now, the tranquility comes when the reds and oranges give way to the blues and purples of the night; those moments just after the sunset is over. I'm appreciative of the end of something beautiful; I'm relieved it's over. Maybe that's what makes me sad to see the sunset -- it's an in-my-face, blazing reminder that something so beautiful to me, ended.
Strangely enough, today I find comfort in the moments that don't really get the attention they deserve, whether in divorce, sunsets, or life -- the transition.