I was an honest to goodness worrywart when I was a child. I fretted about everything from having cancer to returning my books to the library past the due date. So when my parents traveled to Hawaii for a vacation, I was beside myself with negative thoughts. A plane crash…no parents…what was a 5th grade girl to do but wring her hands and clench her stomach in fear?
But my mother, in all her love and wisdom, did a beautiful thing. She wrote us a letter for each day she was gone. Every day we opened an envelope to read her reassuring words, but I honestly remember the contents of only one. On this particular day, she figured out a certain time of night when my sister and I (only two of us were old enough) could look at the moon at the very same time that she and my dad looked at it. It was a way for us to feel close even though we were so very far away. The designated time must have been around 9pm because I remember having to stay up a bit longer than usual. We were lying on a mattress in the living room of my grandparents 100 year old farm house and there were huge windows just beside us.
At just the right time, I gazed up through those windows, my eyes staring wide at the brilliant moon above. I think perhaps there might have even been a prayer that we all said at just that same moment. What a gift my mother gave me that evening. It was a shift in perspective I will remember always.
Over the past year I traveled twice to Africa, leaving behind my own young daughters. The first time I went, I wrote them a letter for every day and, yes, one of those nights we stared at the same glorious moon from two continents away. Separated by distance, but not by love.
In times when I feel overwhelmed, I am still comforted and calmed by placing my gaze upon the moon. It holds great significance for me. A beacon of light in the darkest of times. Even more so because it reminds me of the love of the One who placed it in the evening sky. I like to think He knew we would need a reminder in the midst of our darkness, that there is light shining down on us. And just like the moon, that light we need so greatly is a reflection. It is the reflection of a love so deep and so strong that it is above our ability to comprehend. A love that always lights the way just when we need it the most…
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5