While I was fidgeting to set up my tripod in the darkness of dawn, my fingers were beginning to feel numb. I told myself over and over again that this would be worth it (referring to my photos later on!). I secretly told myself that all this “suffering” would lead me to great photos of Haleakalā from its peak. Residents of Maui have been telling me that if there is a one must place to go, this would be it.
Minutes seemed like hours when we were up there. One minute felt like fifteen. I rubbed both my palms together for warmth and for a split second wanted to run towards the shelter prepared by the park to warm myself. Should I have left, I would have lost this perfect spot for photo taking.
And at 5:17 a.m., the first ray of light broke out in the horizon. I was there. I said a soft but loud enough “wow” to myself, and the photographer next to me gave me an affirmative nod. I told myself, “God, You’re good. This is worth the wait.”
This brief (but long) episode of me taking photos of sunrise at Haleakalā got me thinking about beauty — that for us to enjoy beauty, you would need to sacrifice.
#1 — Beauty Is Found When You Are Patient
Have you heard a child being told by his mother to stop whining and be patient? Or what about a relationship that was hurried only to have led to separation? How about an accident when the driver was impatient?
These are many instances in our daily lives where we need to just double down, take stock and reflect. In many of these cases, beauty can and will be found when you are patient. Just like the sunrise I witnessed at Haleakalā.
What type of situation provokes your patience?
How different will you react from now on towards these provoking situations?
#2 — Beauty Is Found During Solitude
One of my favourite parts of the day is dawn. This is when the kids are sound asleep, the house is still and the traffic clear. I draw strength from prayer, journaling and reading at this hour and; I find my thoughts get clarified better and sharper.
I try to guard this space as fiercely as possible.
That is, if I’m not awake watching a Manchester United game. Or slept late last night. And this is where serious discipline comes in.
Beautiful sunrise and sunsets are found during quiet moments. People’s day have not started or are winding down. Work is not (usually) on your mind.
Where is your place of solitude? Do you go to that place regularly?
What disciplines do you require to reach that place of solitude?
#3 — Beauty Is Found When You Go Deep
Pearls are found in the deep ocean (10–40 metres) and diving deep to get it can be hazardous to to the human body. Diamonds are said to be mined at about 200 or more metres underground.
On another context, as a husband and father, I find my most favourite conversations with my wife and children is when we go deep in our chats. Going beyond the ‘whats’ to the ‘whos’ of the day and then to the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’. Deep conversations last past set schedules and times. They bring the best out of each other, although it may hurt. But the end result is the pearl. Or a diamond.
When was your last deep conversation and who was it with?
What made the moment special?
While at the peak of Haleakalā, someone cheekily played the intro of Lion King’s music when the sun came up proper. As of this time of writing, my kids are big fans of the movie and they can almost memorise every lyric and dialogue of the movie (have mercy on me!). One of the paragraph of Elton John’s “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” goes:
Can you feel the love tonight?
You needn’t look too far
Stealing through the night’s uncertainties
Love is where they are
Sometimes, beauty is not too far away. In fact, it is actually within us. Let us review areas in our life where patience, solitude and going deep is concern. And from there, beauty will prevail bit by bit — just like the sunrise.
Terence is an amateur photographer (read: wannabe). He enjoys traveling and exploring especially places unknown to tourists. Together with his wife, they enjoy showcasing this massive planet to their kids — bringing them for various adventures on a regular basis.
Terence wears many hats and chief of his responsibility is to be a loving husband and dotting dad.