Based on my experience, most people tend to post three types of photos on social media: people, food, and nature, especially flowers and sunsets.
The first one is not surprising. People are obsessed with people, especially themselves. But also other people. Relational beings and all that.
The second one is a subject you should ask my husband about. He has a lot of fun talking about food and the power it holds over us and in us. It’s quite fascinating.
The third one is the whole point of this blog post, as people who read titles already know. Specifically, the sunsets.
A couple weeks ago, one of my Facebook friends posted a photo of a sunrise and in the caption she made a remark about how she almost didn’t post it because of some cynical person who asked if we really need more pictures of sunrises/sunsets on social media.
I understand the cynic. Cynicism is easy. I regularly analyze why people post the things they do on social media. What were you hoping to achieve with that post? And no one is as fascinated by you and your life as you are. And if I really wanted to hear that song, I would stream it myself, thanks. But cynicism is a weakness, I know. It’s not kind. It’s not helpful. It’s not even generally true. Most people don’t think that much about the things they do. They enjoy something and want to share it and so they do. Social people socially post social things on social media.
But when I analyze people posting photos of sunsets, my cynicism does not awake. Sunsets give me hope.
As far as I can tell, there’s no practical reason for them to exist. God could have chosen to make the sun set quietly with no unusual colors. But He chooses to create beauty for beauty’s sake, not occasionally, but constantly. The sun is always setting somewhere. And the fact that humans are still amazed by a beauty that they can see almost daily, that makes me happy.
I don’t know what it is about beauty that makes humans feel the need to touch it, to enter into it, to become part of it, to capture it in some way. Maybe because beauty is God’s signature, and we feel the call of home when we see it. But I do know that no matter how sadly our phone cameras fail to capture the glory of a day’s death, we still feel the need to try. (#nofilter but it looks so good in real life.) And I love that.
So post your sunsets. Celebrate the Artist King. Never mind the cynics. Yes, we’ve all seen a thousand sunsets and expect to see a thousand more, but every night is new and beauty has a value we don’t quite understand. Someday I’ll talk about that. But tonight, there’s a sunset that I want to see. And I probably won’t post it on social media, but if you do, I’ll smile.