Scrolling through my Instagram page, I suddenly noticed how many pictures of the sky I’ve posted since we arrived in Canada, and it got me thinking.
Moving from Cape Town was really tough, for all the obvious reasons that immigration takes its toll but also because of the physical changes in my environment.
Over the last few months, it’s felt like I’ve had to dig pretty deep to find joy and beauty. In Cape Town it was easy; I just had to look out a window and breathe it all in. The warmth of summer leaves, the awkwardly raunchy smells of fynbos in spring, the coastal colours that filled me with wonder – loving these things was how I worshiped.
Mountain formations kick up their heels around the Cape Town city bowl and they were my never-failing navigation system. When the sky glowed blue behind them they looked like cardboard cut-outs, staging a million life scenes around me. I felt like I was a part of it all.
It’s impossible for me to be awestruck at our Earth without feeling closer to God. I don’t think that evolution and the Christian faith cancel each other out, but rather that our creator is nothing like we were taught to understand.
He authors our existence in the most perfect of ways, and when that beauty catches my eyes and my breath, my whole being thrums with excitement.
I still get a panicky feeling when the weight of our cross-continental migration bears down on me. There are implications on who I am without my familiar shapes and colours and sounds – almost as if I’m getting to know myself again.
Then I go back in time to see what images sustained me, and I notice a common thread that guides me back from my wonderings.
What is beauty that it tugs at me so?
I’m feeling that it’s a link to God. If I’m made in his image then creativity is at my core. That desire to make things, and make them well, that is how I can live on this planet with my feet, and love – with my entire being – an entity I cannot comprehend.
Those scudding clouds that jostled over the Atlantic? They sustained me. They excited me. And the outlines of peaks I’ve climbed and sat on are always in my eyes. It hurts less now that I know I’ve just swapped my homeland’s contours for new ones, and the more I look up and out, the more wonder I see.
There’s an ocean of swaying grasses nearby, and the trees are shyly revealing their tender buds in the hesitant warmth of spring. The sky seems bigger out here, and when the clouds peel off the Rocky Mountains they play games with light that thrill me.
It’s taken a while to notice that this is what helped me endure. It’s been a sombre four months away from the African sunshine, and there are days when I can’t face our children, so I hide in bed until nightfall. Sometimes I creep away from everyone and sit quietly in a cupboard, resenting the sounds of them looking for me.
While I’m not even close to having it together, I’m optimistic about this fresh start. My fears are slowly revealing themselves as shadows, and I’m not just getting to know myself better, I’m becoming aware of aspects to love, creativity, and even existence that I never knew before.