Thursday, 13 November 2014

A Bonfire Night Sunset

We had a horribly wet day last Saturday.

Guy Fawkes Day had fallen in the week,
 so many of the celebratory bonfire parties and firework displays
 were planned for that weekend evening.

It looked as though they were going to be washed out before they got started.

For wont of something to do in the rain we decided to pay a visit to a local retail centre, 
and as we drove there they rain gradually stopped.

By  the time we got there the sun had come from behind the leaden curtain of clouds
just in time to set.

We don't get the spectacularly technicoloured sunsets here 
that you do in other parts of the world,
but they are still beautiful;
especially coming so unexpectedly, out of a dark day.

It brought to mind a radio programme I'd heard the day before.
I had only caught the last fifteen minutes
 so hadn't got the name of the American serviceman it was about.
I heard enough to know during WW11 he had spent forty odd days adrift in an open boat 
with some of his comrades in arms;
and that in the strafing they endured at least one life was lost.
Then they were picked up by the Japanese.

Believing they were in possession of important information,
 the Japanese interned them in a camp 
where our protagonist was brutally, and repeatedly tortured
 until he lost consciousness, then revived in order for the process to be continued.

His outstanding bravery boosted the morale of his fellow prisoners,
 most of whom died before he was at last liberated.

After the war he sort out those who had been his guards and torturers in the camp
in order to meet, and sincerely forgive them,
 and work for reconciliation.

Though his health was broken by his experiences
 he had survived. 

Many of his comrades of similar age and fitness had succumbed in the camps,
yet he went on to live to a ripe old age.

His widow said, when she had asked him how he accounted for his survival 
his explanation was simply that he had never lost hope;.
adding that his faith had given him this strength.

Beyond this he said,
 it was sight of the sky at dawn, or sunset,
 which continually lifted his spirit.

As I listened to the story I marveled that he should name something so ephemeral, 
as being memorable to sustaining his crucial inner strength.

Watching the moments of sunset change over the rain drenched car park
 and remembering that story
 made me realise anew
 we are surely made for beauty.
And if we are made for beauty,
 surely it may be found.
Even in the most unlikely places.

 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Be Blessed 
By Unexpected Beauty


  1. Hazel, the photos are spectacular. I especially like the one at the bottom as the lighting is very different. Thank you for emphasizing the importance of hope. Hope carries us through life. Blessings.

    1. Thanks Lynda.

      Amazing what these phone cameras can do isn't it?

      Much appreciation and blessing. x