by Emily Conrad
My favorite photo from our stay in Acadia is from our early morning outing to see sunrise from Cadillac Mountain.
We didn’t make it to the very top of the mountain. Other excursions to see sunrise in national parks have always found us mostly alone, so in Acadia, we didn’t allow extra travel time for dealing with a crowd.
Cadillac Mountain, however, offers the unique opportunity to witness one of the earliest sunrises in America, and quite a crowd gathers.
As we attempted to ascend the mountain, we fell in line behind some slow traffic. My husband predicted we would miss sunrise if we continued to follow to the top, so we pulled off at a picturesque turn out and enjoyed the view.
I used a picture of the vista in my previous post, too, but we could all use another sunrise, couldn’t we? So here it is again.
I tend to pursue perfection and fear missing out, so if I had been alone on Cadillac Mountain with my goal of watching sunrise from the top, it might not even occur to me that there was a suitable alternative.
I would’ve continued, anxious to reach the summit. Once I got there, I’d have been shocked and dismayed to see how full the lot was and how everyone was parking on both sides of the road instead of in the designated parking area. The rule follower in me would’ve thrown a fit about parking where no cars were allowed. If I’d parked anyway, by the time I had gotten to the mountaintop overlook, sunrise would’ve been over. My fear of missing out would’ve come true. Plus, I’d feel guilty about where I’d parked. And tired, because missing the sunrise one morning would meaning having to wake up and try a different day, even earlier to beat the crowd. What a mess, and all in attempt to reach my original goal.
So I’m glad my husband was along and could call it, suggesting about halfway up that we pull over.
Missing our original objective didn’t turn out to be bad at all.
At my elementary school, the computer lab displayed a sign with a Norman Vincent Peale quote that read, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
At the time, I liked it for the quote and for the illustration of the moon and stars. I think a little boy may have been reclining on a star, but it’s been a while since I saw that poster.
It was a pretty notion. I like stars! I like them better than the moon, even! If that’s what failure looks like, I can be okay with it!
In the years since, I’ve gotten good at shooting for the moon. I’ve forgotten the beauty of failing among the stars.
The beauty of accepting when it’s time to toss the plan, pull over, and simply enjoy the view as the star closest to earth makes its appearance.
You know all the anxiety, fear, and guilt I said I might’ve experienced if I’d been alone on Cadillac Mountain? I face a lot of similar issues when I pursue goals in other areas, too. But as a follower of Christ, I’m never meant to shoot for the moon–face any obstacle or pursue any aspiration–alone. And I’m never meant to be the one who decides where I land.
Rather, Christ leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me, and regardless of what celestial bodies I can see from my place, I have the bright morning star to light my way.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star!” – Revelation 22:16, NET
I can entrust my trajectory to the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth and moon and stars, knowing that wherever I end up, His plans for me are more beautiful than anything I dreamed for myself.
By all means, as far as Christ enables and draws us to do so, let’s shoot for the moon. But when we land where we land, instead of wishing for what might’ve been, let’s enjoy the view from where we are.
We might just find ourselves watching the most beautiful sunrise of our lives.
“Because of our God’s tender mercy
the dawn will break upon us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 1:78 and 79, NET
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