In all other ways it was a normal afternoon. I was driving on I-75 in my could-be-cleaner minivan, heading home from a pretty average work day. My route was the same as every other day and I’m pretty sure the Sara Bareilles song on the radio was a repeat of what I had listened to just nine hours earlier on the commute to my office. But that day as I looked out on the Maumee River, I was simply awestruck by the colors out my window.
It was as though every color of the landscape had been deliberately chosen like a swatch of paint from Lowes. The normally muddy river seemed to sparkle like crystal in the sun and the vegetation along the banks of the water was a shade of green you’d expect only to find in an exotic rainforest. Looking up, the clouds were cotton ball white and the sky…well, let’s talk about the sky. The blue of the sky was crisp and clear with just a hint of aqua that reminded me of my favorite ocean.
I turned my head to merge lanes and out of the corner of my eye I caught a different perspective: slightly gray and not so pretty. I instinctively took my sunglasses and moved them up, then down, then up again and back down over my eyes. I felt a twinge of disappointment. It was still a pretty day, but all the vibrant colors seemed dull unless I was looking through those UV blocking lenses.
Confession: I’m a girl who is always wearing sunglasses. A pair in my purse. A pair in my desk. A pair on my head. It’s mostly out of habit now, a habit that started when I began to wear contact lenses. Sunglasses protected those contacts from dirt and wind and dust. Now I wear them from morning until the sun sets. I’ve gone through all kinds of fashion phases with my eye wear from the enormous Jackie O style sunglasses, to the Top Gun aviator style, to my newest pair: pearl pink with tiny crystals. Another confession: those sunglasses help me hide a bit. With sunglasses on it’s harder to tell if I’ve just rolled out of bed, if I’ve stared moment longer than I should, or whether tears have stained my eyes.
But that day as the landscape turned from ordinary to extraordinary with just a shift of my sunglasses, my thoughts turned to my faith. A faith rooted in the truth of Christ and how that faith has completely changed my perspective and outlook on life. My faith protects me from the harsh dirt of this world and sometimes allows me to hide in the comfort of raw conversations with God.
My shade faith doesn’t change what I see now versus what I saw before I believed. I still see millions of humans treated like slaves and living in poverty and it fills me with the kind of anger that matters. I still see flaws in the closest of my relationships and I’m dreadfully aware of how my own thoughts and actions fall so short of what God desires. But my shade faith allows me to feel hope in humankind. To never stop believing in my family and friends. And to see the truths of who I really am written on pages of timeless inspiration.
Like the effect of sunglasses on an average landscape, my perspective of this world is changed by my faith:
Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. – Mark 8:25
And so that day while driving I added this phrase to my vernacular:
Alison is the proud shade wearing wife to Greg and mom to two girls ages 7 and 3. Right now she’s thrilled she was able to sneak away for a couple hours on a rainy Sunday to write this post. She also realizes there might be some pressure around what sunglasses she is wearing after this post is public.
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