Have you noticed that we often use the analogy of weather to describe our lives? We talk about rainy days, weathering storms, and the sun shining down on us. Most often we describe clear skies as the best weather to have in our lives, wishing to avoid the clouds altogether. After weathering some storms in my own life, and living with some clouds that won’t seem to go away, I have come to realize that the clouds actually make life more beautiful.
Think about a sunrise or a sunset that you may have seen recently. Have you ever noticed that clouds are what make a sunset so much more beautiful? The sun setting on a clear horizon is nothing compared to when the streaks of clouds transform its light into so many beautiful shades. I don’t think I have ever taken a picture of a sunset in a cloudless sky. Yet I have gone to great lengths to capture images of sunsets made beautiful by the array of colors reflecting off of all kinds of cloud formations. Even the first image you see on this website is that of a disappearing sun in a cloud-filled sky.
You could describe this analogy of a sunset in a lot of different ways. The sun might represent the source of light and life, or perhaps your soul or source of being. And if the sky is the canvas of your life story, don’t we need some clouds in there to better reflect the light? As much as we hate to encounter those clouds—trials and painful experiences—isn’t it precisely those difficulties which reveal the truer colors of ourselves, developing who we are as individuals?
Painful sex is a dark cloud that can loom over your life and relationships. In my marriage painful sex was like an ominous force that seemed to blot out the love between us. The pain itself was dark—something to fear and hide from. And painful sex does not come alone. It brings along a sky full of clouds in varying shapes and sizes—depression, feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness, relationship struggles such as disconnection and discontentment, and the list goes on. Pretty soon you find yourself wondering where the sun disappeared to. You can lose your connection to the source of life and you can lose your sense of who you are as a person. But you can also push through those clouds, making room for the sun to shine through and amongst them. And when that sun breaks through, what a beautiful sunset it makes!
Think about your own life and your own clouds, whether painful sex or something else. Haven’t those struggles and painful experiences helped shape who you are today? Can you see the beauty in how the light of your life reflects off of those difficulties? Would you be the same person if your sky had never had any clouds in it? I know I am stronger and more confident in myself as a result of some of the trials in my life. I am better at relating to others around me; it is easier for me to empathize with their unique struggles because of what I have learned through my own. I believe I am a more beautiful person with a more remarkable sunset because of my life’s clouds.
And no sky is the same, just like no one person is the same as another nor your life story the same as mine. Even the same sky does not stay the same, just as our lives never seem to stay in one place. As you watch a sunset the colors and shapes can change in an instant, and if you are aren’t careful you can look away and the entire flash of colors can be gone as the sun finishes its descent below the horizon. Aren’t our lives like that too? Time goes so fast—the colors shift so quickly. Let’s stop allowing the darkness of the clouds in our life to take our attention away from the light that is reflecting through them. The next time you are admiring a beautiful sunset, take a moment to consider how the clouds make life more beautiful.