The wonder of Night

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

My memory may be faulty but I won't ever forget that feeling of being held in love under a blanket of stars.

When I was in high school, one of my best friends had a family cabin in Glen Haven, on the alternate road into Estes Park from Drake. I remember enjoying time in the mountains with friends, and I especially remember how dark the nights were.

One evening we decided to walk down the road to the little gas station to buy some candy, and before we knew it, it was well past sunset and darkness surrounded us. My friend knew the way back home, and in fact, all we had to do was follow the paved road, but for me, that was a little scary.

When I say dark, I mean so dark that you could barely see your hand in front of your face. I knew my feet were walking the right direction because I could hear my friends laughing around me, not ten feet from me. I too would call out just to hear their response.

There wasn't a danger of being hit by cars, because we could see the headlights coming through the trees, yet my mind raced with thoughts of what might be creeping in the forest, following us home.

Once we reached the turnoff and walked over the bridge, we stopped at the large pile of rocks at the entrance to her driveway. Without me even noticing, stars were beginning to poke through the darkness and I could now see to climb the rocks and find a comfortable place to lay down. Flat on my back, I could see the whole sky beginning to fill with stars.

In that moment, fear of what waited in the dark dissipated. I was caught up in the wonder and the beauty of the night sky. Constellations were everywhere, and my friend named them for me. Every once in a while, a shooting star drew gasps of wonder. As I looked around, I saw shadows of familiar surroundings- the cabin, the car, the rocks and I listened to the creek babbling under the bridge. In this moment of awe, watching the stars twinkle, I had no room in my heart for fear. I later wrote in my journal about how seeing the sky lit up with what seemed like a million stars made me feel so small, and yet, at the same time, significant.

If God took the time to create the heavens, and put that much joy and awe into the sky, imagine what that same kind of love created in me!

It is true it takes the darkness to see the stars. That has a different meaning for me now then when I was young. In this time of my life, when health challenges are a constant companion, looking for stars means looking for moments of joy in the middle of my struggles. It means looking for kindness and love in a world where power still reins.

I no longer ask my husband about the difficult things at work. He shares when he is ready. But I do ask him what made him laugh. Sharing a bit of humor in our days helps us to connect, to remember the good stuff. There will always be suffering in the world. All of my wishing the darkness will go away doesn't make a difference.

I hope I will continue to find answers, puzzle pieces to my health challenge with every new healer or doctor I see.

I continue to search for sparkles of joy, for laughter, for shooting stars of love in the world around me. While it seems like darkness will continue to be my travel companion, I remember that stars need the darkness to shine. I choose to shift my perspective and remember what an amazing life this is. I close my eyes,

feel that sense of being small yet significant, and allow a blanket of stars to wrap me in their wonder.

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