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Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Perfect Complement

by Cynthia Ruchti

"Look how the clouds make a perfect complement to the scene," our host said on our tour of Oregon's beauty. 

Hours earlier, we stood on the shore of Trillium Lake, near Mt. Hood, as clouds rolled in. Soon, we we dodging raindrops to get back into the vehicle that took us to lower elevations, toward our host's home. After the rain spent itself, the clouds thinned again and split apart so we could see edges of light outlining the clouds. With sunset approaching, the outline turned from bright-white to orange to crimson against pockets of blue.

Rather than praise the return of blue or the brilliant color palette of light, our host said, "Look how the clouds complement the scene."

His words made it to my ever-present notebook within seconds. What a great perspective! Too often we see clouds as barriers to the real view. What if instead they are enhancements? The perfect foil, perfect backdrop, for spikes of light, creating something to reflect, ensuring the viewer notices the contrasts?

Rather than resent their presence, wouldn't we then see clouds as a vital part of the picture?

What if the latest rejection is actually brush strokes on canvas to provide a foil for an upcoming acceptance? What if a disappointment is the base for an outline of riotous light? What if having to rewrite the whole second half of your novel because of a sticking point you discovered two sentences from the end produces a more compelling story than the cloudless original?

This is what we saw when we got to Mt. Hood: 

As we toured the grounds and the lodge, we waited for the shroud to lift. We walked to another spot for a different angle. Still encased in clouds. A peak of sun seemed on its way, if we gave it a few more minutes. But the majestic mountain refused to let its face be seen no matter how long we waited or how much we wanted to see the top of the mountain.

The clouds got in the way? In some respects. But in another way of thinking, they added an air of mystery. I had no trouble believing the rest of the mountain was there. Thousands, perhaps millions of others had seen it. Many had captured its image by camera or artist's canvas. It likeness had been sculpted in bronze and stone. Our host told stories of his ski and hiking adventures and helped us imagine how much more of the mountain lay beyond the clouds.

We didn't walk away disappointed, as we might have. The clouds formed a complement to the scene and forced our imaginations and faith to take over.

Novelist, caregiver, parent, teacher, striver, what circumstance clouds are forcing your imagination and faith to take over these days?

Where's Jesus in this?

Mark 9:7 CEB records one of many times in the biblical account when God demonstrated how a cloud can FORM and enhance the scene, not hide it. "Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice spoke from the cloud, "This is My Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!"

What if that same message came from the depths of the cloud in your view? Isn't it?


  1. I love those pictures. I hope to get a chance to visit there some day.

  2. Wow, your words are definite food for thought. I'm finding that with God, a lot depends on your perspective. Will I miss the blessings because of the clouds? Or are the clouds part of the blessing? Insightful, my sister in Christ. Thank you.

  3. Thank you, Paula. And yes, Edward, it is well worth the trip.


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