The Sundial

“Let others tell of storms and showers,
I’ll only mark your sunny hours.”


I have always loved sundials.  Maybe it’s because my Grandma loved that particular sundial quote, and spoke of it in her writings. I have a treasured collection of her stories that she wrote in the quiet evenings after her long days of farming. So I googled “Sun dial mottoes and quotes” and found a list from “Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations”

“True as the needle to the pole,
Or as the dial to the sun.”

–Barton Booth—Song.


“Give God thy heart, thy service, and thy gold;
The day wears on, and time is waxing old.”  

–Sun Dial in the Cloister-garden of Gloucester Cathedral.


“If o’er the dial glides a shade, redeem
The time for lo! it passes like a dream;
But if ’tis all a blank, then mark the loss
Of hours unblest by shadows from the cross.”
        –On a Sun Dial in a churchyard at Shenstone, England. 


As a child I was fascinated that time could actually be marked without a clock! Funny how the childlike brain works sometimes . . .

And yet, I am making an effort to keep my mind and heart soft, to be more childlike in sensing the wonder of things all around me,
to sense God’s hand at work in places where I might have missed Him if my eyes weren’t kept seeing.

Should we only mark the sunny hours then?  What if there is a joy to be found in the shadows as well?  What if there is a Blessing to be had when the shadow of the cross marks our days?

I can look back on days when I felt the dark would never end, but it was in the dark-seeing that lessons were learned that sunlight could never have taught me . . .  When the curriculum that we had spent so many hours creating didn’t sell, and when the printing business that we had gathered fell apart at the seams, our family was carried by a God who never left us alone. When the relationships were torn asunder, and when the church that we had loved fell apart, our view of God’s love was suddenly stretched beyond the easy phrase memorized and spoken by rote.

Even now, when the fatigue or the pain come ready to swallow my nights and steal my rest, the peace that only Jesus brings teaches me to wait upon Him in a stillness that is new to me.

“Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.”

–Psalm 63:7 


So, should we mark only the sunny hours,  or should we mark the shadow as well?  Can we take the risk to embrace them both?  He has a purpose for us in the shade and in the sun. 
One of my Grandma’s stories tells about living through The Great Depression, and the hardness that was endured.  She ended with this thought:
“The people who lived then have forgotten about the long days of hard work without modern conveniences. Like the sundial, folks only remember the happy, sunny days of long ago. I also remember the kindness of so many people who made 1930 a time to remember.” 
Singing in the shadows, or dancing in the sun, it is the kindness of the heart that opens the way to see God’s working in our days.
This week I am linking up with these great bloggers:


15 thoughts on “The Sundial

  1. Bettie – Thank you for your words this is what I want too – to be childlike and see things where I might have missed Him… “I am making an effort to keep my mind and heart soft, to be more childlike in sensing the wonder of things all around me, to sense God's hand at work in places where I might have missed Him if my eyes weren't kept seeing.” such good words … found you at #TeaAndWordTuesday plus thanks for stopping by my place too 🙂


  2. Debbie, I have so enjoyed getting to be your neighbor over at #TeaAndWordTuesday! Thank you for stopping by here with encouraging words. Isn't God good to keep shifting our focus back to the Wonder of Him? –Blessings!


  3. Hi Bettie,
    I think sun dials are fascinating too! It is amazing that they were used to measure time and all the quotes you found about them are quite interesting. Your words are poignant about not measuring only the sun, but the shadows too, because it's the darker times we'd like to forget. But yes, God can use them both to make us stronger, yet more dependent on him, in that mysterious way that he works in our circumstances that doesn't always seem obvious to us at the time. Love these words! xo


  4. I love this, Bettie. Thank you for the hope you offer here. It's so true that it's in the dark-seeing days that God teaches us lessons that can't be learned in the sunlight. That's so neat that you have your grandma's journaling. Blessings and hugs to you!


  5. Hi Valerie,
    I hope you will find some beautiful sun dials on your next trip to Italy! Yes, as I am moving in a place of slow here, God is reminding me of so many things that I have thought best to just forget. But in the remembering is where HIS healing light shines! Thank you for always being an encouragement to me! **Hugs!**


  6. Hi Trudy,
    Yes, I am so thankful that my Mother spent hours at the copy machine so that all the grandchildren would have her Mother's stories! I want to give hope as a legacy to my family as well. Sometimes when the dark seems to loom so large, it's hard to imagine that we can share any kind of hope, isn't it? But I am so grateful that God's hope keeps shining for us. You are often in my prayers during this summer of rest! May Jesus be your strength! **Hugs!**


  7. Thank you, Bettie. You have been in my prayers as well. I hope to return to my blog next week Tuesday. “But I am so grateful that God's hope keeps shining for us.” Amen! That's so cool that your mother would spend so much time to pass on your grandmother's wisdom. 🙂 Hugs!


  8. Thank you so much for your prayers Trudy. I am looking forward to reading your words again! I have missed your voice in this digital connecting space. **Hugs, my friend!


  9. So lovely, Bettie. Poetic words and truth meet again! I especially love, “So, should we mark only the sunny hours, or should we mark the shadow as well? Can we take the risk to embrace them both? He has a purpose for us in the shade and in the sun.” I understand about living a life of learning to embrace both. We have experienced one of those hard times. In them, it seems like one may not see the light of day again -then God in His miraculous way brings the veil up over our heads and it is like we get kissed. If we can only keep sharing this hope, so others know “it will all be okay” if not now, one day! Thanks for linking up, friend!


  10. Thank you for your sweet words, Meg! I so appreciate the perspective that you have to let God “bring the veil up over our heads and it is like we get kissed.” I want to soak in these words today! I am enjoying your link-up and study on the book of Ruth so much! –Hugs and Blessings to you!


  11. Your grandma's writing are so thoughtful I really like the last phrase that stresses that kindness of others!
    Walking alone in hard times would make the days even harder!
    I'm grateful God puts people in our lives to make life journey easier.

    God bless you


  12. I love these stories that we hear from our grandparents. I treasure them so much as I can see you do, too. What a legacy they leave through their written word. Thanks for sharing with us at Seeking God Daily.


  13. Thank you Jaime for your encouragement to remember and share more of these precious stories of legacy. When the Lord has blessed us with these stories of faith, we do need to share them don't we? I am praying for inspiration to continue with more of these after the New Year, thanks to your nudging (and the Lord's too!)


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