Between school deadlines, work demands, and some summer traveling, I’ve been running myself ragged the last few months. I decided that what I wanted for my birthday last week was some time to rest and recharge – by myself. I had exactly 37.5 hours, from Tuesday evening to Thursday morning, to be by myself at Kickapoo State Park.
My time alone was magical and refreshing and sacred. It was everything I hoped it would be and then some. I was looking forward to turning 39 on Thursday, believing that the number was just a number. The last year of my 30’s will not be spent filled with regrets over the past or feeling like my life is passed me by. Life is full and good.
Magical and refreshing and sacred, or it was until my sleep on the second night was interrupted by an urgent phone call that reminded me that my respite was only temporary. There was nothing I could do about the situation. I prayed and laid awake for awhile, trying to push aside all the worries that were threatening the peace of earlier that day. Sleep finally returned only to be interrupted by a text updating me on the earlier call. The worries that had been nagging me already were giving way to full-blown fear. I prayed. I sang. I recited Scripture. I prayed. I tried to remember all of the good things from my time alone, which only hours ago had felt warm and sweet but now felt cold and distant.
At 3 a.m., I went for a walk. I remembered from my last walk through the campground before going to bed, that the moon was big and bright.The sky was illuminated, despite the wee hours of the morning when it is usually the darkest, so I was sure it was beautiful right then, too. I had to walk a bit to get to a place where the view was not obscured by trees.
When I stepped into the full view of the moon, I couldn’t believe how incredibly beautiful it was. Big and bright and close. The actual full moon time was only a little over an hour later. I love the sky. I gaze at the sky a lot – during the day. I look at the moon sometimes. But I like sleep, so I usually miss out on these things. At the campground, with no streetlights or cars passing by, the moon was in full glory. It was breathtaking. I watched the moon for awhile, breathing the cool early morning air slowly and deeply, feeling the aching in my soul fade just a bit.
The moon, as gorgeous as it is, has no light of its own. The light we see is that which is reflected from the sun.
There was a smattering of clouds in the sky. As each one passed in front of the moon and blocked the reflection, the sky all around it still shone with its light. The cloud would pass, and the moon was exactly as it had been before. Even though it had been covered in darkness, it remained the same. When the wispy tails surrounded the moon, they appeared as iridescent swirls, making it even more beautiful.
I want to be like the moon, not shining with my own light, but reflecting the Light of the Son.
I want to be like the moon, unaffected by the clouds of darkness, not changing who I am because of present circumstances.
I admired the moon for a little longer and headed back to the camper to return to bed for the two hours I had left to sleep before re-entering my normal life.
I would like to be able to say that I woke up in that same frame of mind, but the day, even though it was my actual birthday, was filled with hard and heavy things. It certainly did not feel like a very happy birthday, a fact which pained me every time I read a birthday wish from friends and family. Honestly, I spent the day wishing I could go to bed, which I did at 8:35 p.m. Happy birthday to me.
The situation that came to my attention is still here. The clouds are more of the dark and stormy kind than the wispy ones I saw that night. The worries and the fear are looming close by, threatening to creep in.
But when I take a few moments to pause and contemplate, I see the moon shining bright, reflecting the Light. The clouds pass by, and the moon is unchanged.
I want to be like the moon.