Posted by: John Adams | May 24, 2009

An Evening at Dusk

I was watching the end of Big Fish last night, the part where Billy Crudup is carrying his father down to the river to fulfill his dying request. As they arrive, everyone his father has ever known–circus freaks, small-town Southern belles, high-school basketball players in uniform, and fellow soldiers from the Korean War–is standing on the riverbank, all of them waving goodbye. It’s an emotional scene and I was close to tears.

As the credits rolled, I happened to glance out the window, suddenly becoming aware that the parking lot was being bathed in an apocalyptic red glow. The intensity of the light was so abnormal that I thought it was the orange of the street-lamps at first. It took me a second to realize that it was actually the hue of the sky.

Running outside, I was awestruck by one of the most beautiful sunsets that I have ever seen. Intending to capture the moment on film, I dashed back inside and grabbed my camera, but campus had too many buildings and trees in the way to get a good shot. So I started walking down Main Street, past the skateboard kids, small-town shopfronts, and Memorial Day flags billowing in the breeze, trying to get far enough away from town to where I could get a clean shot of the sky. I realized even as I was walking, however, that the light was dying and I had very little time.

It was at this point that I began to be seized with a sense of desperation. I broke into a full sprint, turning the head of an old man along the way who probably wondered where a young man in a T-shirt and gym shorts could be running to at 9:00 in the evening. By the time I reached the end of the road, the sun had dropped below the horizon. I began to take pictures, but nothing showing up in the LCD looked very good. It was too dark by then for the camera to make sense of what was going on. In my disappointment, another thought came to me, “Maybe I’m not meant to capture this, but only to enjoy it.”

So I gave up trying to capture the moment and veered off the road instead, down a gravel path and up a soft rise to a field of freshly mown grass. Finding a seat at the far end, I stared out at the rolling Kentucky countryside and began to join in the chorus the sky had already initiated, singing hymns of praise and voicing prayers aloud.

“Lord, please let me touch as many lives as the man in the movie,” I prayed. “May the end of my life be as beautiful as this sunset.”

I had no idea what any of this was supposed to mean, only that the Lord’s hand was in it. I’ve been sensing Him at work lately in the creases of my life, authoring a story that will be beautiful in the telling. I don’t where any of this is headed right now, only that I am chasing down the sun, heart racing with joy, with miles to go before I sleep.




  1. My John,

    This is one of the best posts you’ve ever written. God has special things prepared for you. Run Son Run.

  2. I teared up a little reading this. May all our lives be that beautiful.

  3. bro i LOVE big fish!….i always cry at the end…and that pic of that kentuckian sunset is one of the coolest that i’ve ever seen…

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