Sunset – Remembering in January Sunsets


Sunset at the end of the day

The days are cold here and the nights even colder.  At dusk, the sunsets are beautiful.

From the inside looking out, I’ve watched the orange-gold sun setting behind barren trees, lighting the sky with one final nod before it settles in the western sky. All is still.

Morning comes, and the birds vie for spaces at the bird feeder. I watch them as I sip hot tea with lemon and locally made honey. Always, I remember my mama.

Mama kept a warm house and watched birds from her kitchen window.  Any size or shape was welcome at her feeders, and she especially enjoyed watching woodpeckers on the trees in the woods outside the window.  At evening, Mama enjoyed sunsets.

Was it the vibrancy against the coming night that she enjoyed?  Could it be the kaleidoscope of colors that changed from evening to evening? Was it the clouds backdropped in colors, sometimes fluffy like cotton or thin like tissue?  Maybe it was the promise that, after the sunset, comes the morning?

Remembering the sunset

In January 2010, we buried our mama in the graveyard of the church she attended most of her life. It was a windy, blustery, and icy day. The wind whipped at our hearts, reminding us that another era of our life is past. All during the funeral service, men from the church re-shoveled the path from the church to the graveyard so we could make our way up the hill to bury our mama.

Family, cousins, and friends helped us sing one of our mama’s favorite songs that day in her memorial service. Sometimes I sing it now, remembering her. Sometimes I sing it, remembering that there is more to life beyond the sunset than anything I can ever experience here.

We stood around her bed that early, early Saturday morning and watched as her ship set sail. She sailed away and slipped beyond the sunset.

January sunsets remind me of her. Sunsets remind me that I will, one day, be where there is no night and there are no farewells. One day, there will be no more ships to set sail.

One day, there will be a reunion in that land where the sun will never, ever set again — that land that is far beyond the sunset! But today, I wonder: what is it like There, beyond the sunset?  It is enough to know that, one day, I will be there, and then, I will know.

The Song

The song is an older song, and was written in 1871 by Josephine Pollard (1834-1892).

To listen to Harding University Concert Choir sing this acapella, click on this link.

To hear an instrumental version, click here. 

Here are the words to this beautiful song:

Beyond the Sunset

by Josephine Pollard, 1871
Beyond the sunset’s radiant glow, there is a brighter world, I know,
Where golden glories ever shine beyond the thought of day’s decline.
Beyond the sunset’s purple rim, beyond the twilight, deep and dim,
Where storms and darkness never come, my soul shall find its heavenly home.
Beyond this desert dark and drear, the golden city will appear,
And morning’s lovely beams arise upon my mansion in the skies.
Those golden portals ever shine beyond the reach of day’s decline,
And Jesus bids my soul prepare to gain a heavenly entrance there.
Beyond the sunset’s radiant glow, there is a brighter world I know.
Beyond the sunset I may spend delightful days that never end.

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