4:30 am and you wake up to the sound of roosters crowing and the morning chant from the temple down the road, two sounds that have replaced your “slow rise” alarm clock on your phone and ability to sleep past dawn. You stumble your way out of your mosquito net, slip in your contacts, and throw on the first item of clothing that is in sight before rushing out the door and down the sandy path to the water…the sunrise waits for no one.
She waits for no one. It doesn’t matter what chain of events happened the day before, or what could potentially happen that day. She still makes her way up each morning, even if there are clouds in her way or a trail of tears behind her from an evening rainfall. Though there may be some mornings where she is unseen to the naked eye, one knows that she is still there and will find a way to spread her light and joy through dark clouds to greet the day with warmth and energy. And yet at the same time, when she does get the opportunity to shine, to paint the morning sky with shades of purple and orange, she is in no rush. There is no hurry to finish her masterpiece, to move on to painting the next canvas when it comes time for her to set upon the horizon. She greets the day as one might savor the first bite of a piece of rich chocolate cake. Slowly, and mindfully. Taking in each sensation. The illumination around the silhouette of Mt. Rinjani on Lombok Island, the way the ocean reflects her warm glow back to her, almost as if it too admires her ability to be strong enough to rise each day and to savor each moment as she lights up the sky. And yet when the day is done, she doesn’t fear setting down past the horizon or wonder if she’ll come back up the next morning. Instead, she sets with a sense of calmth and confidence that tomorrow will be another day in which she will embrace whatever comes her way.e
Maybe it’s the fresh ocean smell, or the fact that sunrise is the one time during the day my body doesn’t feel like it is melting and I’m going to stick to anything and everything I come in touch with. But to me, watching the sunrise on the beach of Gili Air teaches me how to be content even when you may feel like you want to escape from the moment you’re in. It’s easy to feel at peace when the sun is rising, there’s a light breeze touching your skin, and the sound of waves gently rolling over each other as they make their way to the shore. And yet, on those mornings where the breeze has turned to raging gusts of wind and the waves are thrashing along the shore, the sun still comes up each day even if it is hidden behind dark clouds. Can we too be like the sun and have the strength to greet each morning with a positive perspective regardless of how dark the night was? Knowing, that if we can be courageous enough to get through the hardships, tomorrow could bring the most beautiful sunrise into our life?
When we live with this idea that “this too shall pass”, suddenly we are able to find comfort in the uncomfortable. Because we have faith that there is something worth fighting for on the other side. And if we don’t take advantage of enjoying that something wonderful after the dark storm, isn’t it almost as if the storm only existed in vain? Everyone out there is fighting a battle, which is why it’s important to be kind to each person and find strength through times of struggle. But when it is challenging to understand just why something feels wrong, or things didn’t work out right, remember that the sun always finds a way to come up each day. And if it weren’t for the storm, the sunrise and sunset wouldn’t be nearly as breathtaking and rejuvenating after they battle their way through the dark clouds at the end of each and every day.
What can sunrises and sunsets on Lombok and the Gili Island teach us about contentment then? Contentment, is finding comfort in the uncomfortable and the strength to make it through the day knowing that each battle will always be a cause worth fighting for in the end.