Why I Have to Look: Soaking Up Earth’s Most Beautiful Moments

One evening in late March, as I drove home from work, I had to stop on the side of the road. I couldn’t keep traveling unless I stopped. It was like I had this need to pull over and look out my window.

The sky looked like nothing I had seen before. You know the kind of gorgeous sunset I’m talking about, with deep oranges, pinks, and reds swirled together.  Why I Have to Look: Soaking Up Earth's Most Beautiful MomentsI had to marvel for a moment at its beauty and splendor, forgetting for just a few minutes everything that had happened that day and what was coming up. I soaked up the beauty through my windshield, and finally, I came back to reality and drove home.

I know we’ve all experienced moments like this. They usually come at times that seem innocuous, like driving home, running errands, or just going for a walk. We look up or suddenly notice the world around us and are blown away by the simple beauty of what God has created. For instance, there’s this hill in my neighborhood that I always run up during my morning run. As I crest the top of the hill, I see the morning sun’s rays peek through the clouds, and it’s this glorious view of Temecula Valley waking up for the day.

It’s a moment that always makes me stop and say, “Wow — We are truly blessed.” I’m always so appreciative in those moments that I can see the beauty in our world, but when I’m done taking it all in, I feel renewed. It washes away a bad day, or at the very least, offers a small reminder that everything is going to work itself out.

It’s a simple joy that I first noticed when I lived in San Luis Obispo County. Whenever I had a particularly tough day or needed to think about something, I used to drive out to Morro Bay, where I would climb out onto this rock that acted as a break in the bay so there weren’t as many waves. I can remember sitting on this rock, listening to the gentle rhythm of the waves lap against the side of it, and just listening and watching the world around me. It was always a place of calm for me — a place that could wash away anything eating at me.

As we approach Earth Day, I feel appreciative of these moments, like the one that hit my sunset in March or the calming times at the beach. It’s important that we spend this holiday learning about our planet, and in doing so, that we come to appreciate the magnitude and magnificence of it. Whether it’s looking out over the ocean, admiring the snow-capped peaks of Big Bear Mountain, or spending an afternoon wandering around Yosemite Valley, we are blessed to live in this world that God has created.

I hope you find a few awe-inspiring moments in your path this Earth Day. Maybe you won’t feel compelled to stop on the side of the road to savor it, but I encourage you to spend a few moments feeling grateful to have seen it.

We live in a beautiful world, so go outside and enjoy it.


Andrea Shoup