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My new friend Rachel reminds me of the beauty in the sunrise.

“To love beauty is to see light.” -Victor Hugo

What is the first thing you look for in the morning?

Reaching to hit snooze on an alarm likely ranks high on your list. Perhaps followed by reaching for that cell phone, grasping for those glasses, grabbing that robe, and stumbling into the kitchen for a coffee filter. All worthwhile things to seek in the morning.

Two weeks ago, though, I met a woman who reminded me not only of the importance of seeking what truly matters most, but also the power of sharing it with others.

The conversation occurred at a book signing. Earlier that day I’d spoken to Dot Foods reminding them of the dignity of their work, the value of their lives and the power within them to influence positive change.

Afterwards there was a book signing. Typically, the conversations after my presentations begin with people fist bumping me or hugging me, introducing themselves by name and sharing a bit of their story. But one of the leaders from this event skipped the typical pleasantries and jumped right into it.

“I saw it this morning, too!” she said.

“Hi, I’m John. What did you see this morning?” I asked.

She introduced herself as Rachel and reminded me that in the session I asked how many people had seen the sunrise that morning. In a room with more than a thousand people, only a smattering of hands raised. (Although to be fair, they had enjoyed a company party the evening before that stretched late into the night so I was just relieved the majority actually made it into the morning session!)

Then, as further proof she was serious, Rachel pulled up on her phone the picture she’d taken that morning. She showed me the picture of the sun rising over the Mississippi River and kissing off the St. Louis Arch. The light transformed the typical greyish steel colors of the Arch with brilliant hues of yellows and oranges. It was a magnificent picture.

After congratulating her on capturing it, I asked, “What’s the chance you would actually be there right on time to see the sunrise and capture such a magnificent picture?”

Rachel replied matter-of-factly, “Pretty good, actually. You see, every morning of my life I look for the beauty of the new day. As the sun rises, I capture it in a photo and then share it with others. I realize not everyone is as lucky as I am to be up and moving early enough to see the best part of the day.”

With that, Rachel started swiping through pictures on her phone. Picture after picture revealing the stunning beauty of a sunrise. Fields lit up off a highway, warm light cascading off concrete buildings, light creeping over the horizon and igniting an ocean. Each photograph more stunning than the next.

“Gosh Rachel, these are amazing. Are you a photographer?”

“No. I drive a trash truck for a living. But really, I seek to see beauty and share it with others who may not have noticed it otherwise.”

My friends, as we arise each morning, what we seek, we will find. I’m not saying you can’t occasionally hit snooze, find the cell phone, grab the robe or make the coffee. I’m instead suggesting that once you do, keep the television off and don’t scroll.

Instead, walk outside and look east. In the midst of a busy world with many reminding us daily how cynical, negative and bad everything is, see a radically different perspective. Watch as the light cuts through the darkness, observe as the clouds above are ignited with warm colors, witness as shadows fade and the beauty of new day reveals itself for those who seek it.

It may not change the challenges of the life you lead, the work you do or the world in which you live. It will, however, remind you that God is still God, the darkness doesn’t win and the best is yet to come.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Rachel.

Today is your day. Live Inspired.

20 replies on “The Beauty of a New Day”

Although I’m not a morning person, I can honestly say if the mornings that I have to get up for an early morning meeting and catch the sunrise, I am always humbled by the beauty of a sunrise and the hope it brings to my day. I love that Rachel shares this blessing ! Going to work on seeing the sunrise more offer! Thanks for sharing!

What a beautiful example of how to take time to be present each day, capture the world’s wonders and share to impact and inspire others! Thanks for sharing John and Rachel!

There is nothing like a round of golf early in the morning, watching the sun rise and listen to the nature and how it slowly wakes up 🙂

I just love this. I am an early bird too. I love a sunrise moment. Just shared one this morning with my 4 month old twin grandsons I am helping with the next two weeks.
They lay on their floor play mat and look out the big windows in the front door as the sun rises. I sit beside and just breathe it all in. Truely a moment that will stick with me always. Yes always look for the sunshine everyday..even if it is cloudy!!!

Hues of purple and pink greet me from the windows of my Florida room each morning. Coffee cup in hand, I give thanks for the opportunity for another day to celebrate life.

Beautiful reminder to get up early and see the sun rise. I love the sunsets. I do look up to the sky to see God’s beauty most every day. Today I saw the beautiful flocks of white pelicans dancing in the sky as they migrate north. The sun hits them and they look like diamonds in the sky! Thank you God!

Love this post and it reminds me of when I used to go to work in the early mornings as a police officer and get to see the beautiful portraits God painted to brighten my day and protect us with his grace

Incredible timing of your blog post. I was downstairs making coffee this morning in beautiful Lake Tahoe, CA, when my wife texted me to say, ” look outside at the incredible sunrise!” We both snapped pictures of the early golden glow over the mountains.

Then 5 minutes later I sat down to my emails and read this wonderful blog post. Good morning, world! We are all blessed to see another day.

I have always been a huge sunrise and sunset and mountain views and ocean waves rolling into the shore kinda of gal. I have been blessed to live where I can capture some amazing pictures of some great sunrise and sunset photos and vacation to get the other glorious pictures. I praise God everytime I witness them. I cannot image experiencing any of these and not believing in God.
I recently just read your first book and was so inspired I could hardly put it down and at times crying as I was reading your incredible story. I love how God placed the right people at the right times during your journey of blessing your life so you could bless others through your pain. Keep shining your light John and remember that God chose YOU to shine His light so others will see their way to Him.
God bless you always.

Love this! Each morning I look out the glass panels on the sides of my front door and take in the beautiful sunrise. Such a gift from God each morning. I also love sunsets but am often in Mom-mode with dinner/homework, etc. by then but even with my kids, if we’re out, we always comment on the beauty of the sunset. There are always slices of beauty around us. Great to take time and appreciate the magnitude and magnificence of life to keep things in perspective and share with others…and it’s contageous-my one friend sent me a sunrise picture overlooking the NYC skyline on her morning run the other week!

You always offer inspiration even on the craziest days for me! Today, made me especially pause because I’m trying to love more. Love my friends, enemies and family this reminds me of God’s love how he sends us the message your next new day has begun. Thank you for the new perspective. – Gloria

I see the sunrise nearly every day as I’ve always been a “morning person” and get up early. It is a beautiful reminder of God’s love for me and His great gift of another day of life.

John, I’ve always been a morning person. I make the coffee for myself and my husband the night before, grind the beans, fill water, etc. In the morning all I have to do is press the button ( guess I could program the coffee maker but haven’t quite figured that out yet). It’s a ritual, choose my favorite mug for the day (each one in my collection is a reminder of a lovely vacation or from a person that I love.). I’m always up first, I like it that way, it’s me time, which is a time of reflection, gratitude, excitement for what the day may bring. When it’s warm out I watch the sunrise from my back porch but when I’m in the country the sun rising over the pond is a must.
Some people just don’t get it but a beautiful sunrise is where it’s at, a new day will come no matter what we are struggling with in our lives and it will always be uniquely different.

Love this post! I saw several sunrises at the beginning of the year due to a work commitment. It was awe-inspiring! I was thankful to start my year this way.

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