I had an interesting thing happen to me not long ago as I was on the way to my office. In front of me was a massive bank of dark, cool weather clouds that were moving into the area. In meteorology these are called “scud” clouds. These are low, ragged, wind-torn cloud fragments that are often associated with a cold front or what is called a wind gust front. They are very common in our area as seasonal change happens during late August.
What I love about this type of cloud is how different they are as they settle into an area and seem to have an almost solid quality about them. These dark, heavy looking lumps just hang there in formation as the wind pushes them along. They blanket the atmosphere and move across your view creating a very distinct formation called a “scud line”. This line produces a stark difference between the bank of clouds and the clear blue sky that is just in front of it. It is this amazing contrast that always grabs my attention.
What hit me that day was that I missed seeing this distinct line as it passed by. The sky was already over-run by the invading clouds and it looked like someone had thrown a huge box of dark grey cotton balls into the air. From horizon to horizon there was noting but ragged puffballs being pushed along by a gusty northwest wind. As I drove west and considered the cool day that was to come, I noticed the road ahead was blocked and I’m sad to say my attitude took a nosedive. I was annoyed and irritated that I was so close to my destination yet would now be needlessly delayed because of someone else.
A huge 18-wheeler was trying to make an impossible right hand turn onto a narrow side street. In my mind I was wondering why in the world the driver had tried to do such a stupid thing. Didn’t he realize he would block traffic and delay every other vehicle on the road? The funny thing is, it was clear that I was the only other vehicle on the road. So, I sat there and waited rather impatiently and the minutes dragged by. Each missed attempt, and need to back up, added to my irritation. Finally I was able to pass by the monstrous rig and was happy to make some headway.
And then it happened… the entire mass of clouds was suddenly lit up from underneath by a brilliant yellow-orange light. When I turned to see what was causing this, the image that hit me was amazing. There, just above the eastern horizon, was the unmistakable, knife-like scud line. It formed a clean break between the cloudbank, a single ribbon of dark blue morning sky and the tree line. However, perfectly framed within that ribbon was the early morning sun, rising in all it’s glory. Brilliant beams of yellow-orange light streamed out and hit the underside of the clouds with an almost overwhelming intensity.
Everything around me was immediately transformed. The land was washed in a hundred different hues of pink and orange. Instead of viewing dark heavy clouds, I was now staring up into what looked like massive heaps of yellow-orange cotton candy. The entire scene was almost unearthly and it simply took my breath away. All I could do was sit there and gaze up into the air in awe and wonder. A moment later the color faded away and it was over. The sun was obscured behind the advancing cloud bank and that magnificent masterpiece of art was gone.
Why am I mentioning this? Because I could have missed it all! Had I continued on my merry way and not been delayed, I would have been in the wrong place at that very time. I would have been seated at my desk, busy organizing my daily events and never seen any of it. However, because my plans were interrupted, and my progress was held in check, I ended up being perfectly positioned to see something absolutely astonishing. All I had to do was stop, look up and take it in. I realized it was this moment of delay I had experienced that made it all happen.
Several years ago a friend of mine was in his car at a stoplight. His wife and three little children were with him. He is typically impatient and always in a rush, so the moment the light changes he is the first one gone. However this time he hit the accelerator and to his frustration, the vehicle immediately, and unexpectedly stalled out. A moment later another larger vehicle flew right through the intersection at very high speed. Had he not been delayed his vehicle would have been in that intersection and “T boned” by the speeding vehicle. No doubt some of the family would have been killed and others badly injured. He is forever grateful for that moment of delay. My question is, what about you?
Have you had your plans disrupted lately? Have you set things in motion only to discover that something else got in the way and stopped your forward progress? Were you prevented from reaching that all-important goal, and then became frustrated and irritated because of the people who caused it? Could it be that such delays are really hidden opportunities given to you for your benefit? The very thing that is keeping you in place right now might actually be there so you can slow down and get a clear vision of something even greater. Perhaps it’s even saving you from making an unseen, life-changing mistake.
Take the time to relax and enjoy each moment of delay. When you think about it, that’s what really makes this life so exciting. It is often in those unexpected delays where the real treasures of life are uncovered. In those times when you are forced to wait, begin to look up and discover what is magnificently unfolding all around you. Who knows, if you keep an attitude of gratitude you just might see something that takes your breath away.