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Have You Ever Just Looked Up?

I was totally and completely enveloped in wonder. I could have been there 30 seconds or 30 minutes. Time didn’t matter anymore. I might have stood out there for hours reveling in the marvel of creation and the Creator.

The night sky is a pretty cool thing.

Last night I was laying in bed with a headache that I’d had for the better part of 3 hours. I was just ready to go to sleep and wake up without feeling like there was someone in my head trying to drill his way out. That’s why I was quite annoyed when my chocolate lab (Mickey) started whining at the foot of our bed to go out. As she’s gotten older she has started working on her own schedule. So just because I let her out at 8:45 for 30 minutes doesn’t mean that she’s going to do what I put her out there for. So when she decides at 9:35 that she’s ready then I either oblige…or I get to clean up at 5:45 in the morning. But I guess when you are the equivalent of a 70 year old you get set in your ways.

I admittedly wasn’t happy about getting out of bed when I was so close to sleep and relief from the headache, but I wasn’t going to sleep well anyway with Mickey whining and me thinking about possibly having to clean up in the morning so I got up for the short amount of time it would take for her to go outside. I live out where there’s quite a bit of space and no fences so I typically put Mickey on a line out the back door. Last night, however, I let her out the front door and walked out there with her to make sure she didn’t go exploring as she likes to do when she’s not confined to her line. While she was walking around looking for the perfect spot I killed time by looking up.

Have you ever really stopped and looked up at the night sky? It’s marvelously simple. And marvelously beautiful.

Have you ever really stopped and looked up at the night sky? It’s marvelously simple. And marvelously beautiful. It’s an incalculable number of tiny white lights against a black backdrop. It’s a contrast so simple and yet so complex when you think about the battle that is played out between darkness and light just outside our atmosphere. Some of those tiny white lights twinkle and sparkle like a candle flame that flickers even though there’s no wind while others seem to hold steady, never moving, never wavering.

The most remarkable part of the experience for me was the difference in the intensity of each light. So many were prevalent when I first looked up. While there were several, it almost seemed like I could count them one by one. That I could number them and name them if I so chose. But the longer I looked up, the longer I focused on those lights I could see, the more stars I began to see. My eyes were already adjusted to the night so it was an odd experience to begin to see stars that I knew were already there millions of years ago begin to appear, almost one by one. Like they were newly birthed and coming into existence one fragment of intensity at a time.

Soon I wasn’t just looking at the recognizable stars that I always see when I drive home at night, but I was looking at a sky overrun by stars.

I became overwhelmed looking at these newly discovered lights because, the more I looked, the more I saw. As I began to focus on the lesser lights I began to see dozens more in my field of vision. As I shifted my focus I continued to find more and more and more. Soon I wasn’t just looking at the recognizable stars that I always see when I drive home at night, but I was looking at a sky overrun by stars. It was as if the sky transformed from a black backdrop with the occasional star to break up the monotony to a brilliant, shimmering white sky with patches of black that had to be inserted to prevent the sun from being outshone by the night sky. It seemed to happen when no one was looking. Except I was looking.

I couldn’t help but the drawn into Job 38 and 39 where God questions Job according to creation. He goes through aspects of land, sea, and sky and questions Job as to God’s creation and domain over all this. Questions like “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth (38:4)”, “Have you commanded the morning since your days began… (38:12)”, “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion? (38:31)”, “Is the wild ox willing to serve you? (39:9) and “Do you give the horse his might (39:19)” began circling my mind as I looked in to vastness, the complexity, and the wonder of creation. The simple thought that I was looking at light that, because of the distance it has travelled, is most likely shining on me despite the source of that light extinguishing years ago is enough to make my head spin circles.

The simple thought that I was looking at light that, because of the distance it has travelled, is most likely shining on me despite the source of that light extinguishing years ago is enough to make my head spin circles

I was totally and completely enveloped in wonder. I could have been there 30 seconds or 30 minutes. Time didn’t matter anymore. I might have stood out there for hours reveling in the marvel of creation and the Creator. But I was called back once again by the whines of my dog. She was standing at my front door asking to go in and go back to sleep, that very state which had mattered to me a short time before but was now the furthest thing from my mind. Again, much as the first time, I begrudgingly obliged. The symmetry is almost comical now that I look back at it. Wrapped up in my own mind and my own suffering (admittedly a bit over dramatically) I was called away by the whines of Mickey, and now I was called back from being entirely focused on God and his creation by the whines of Mickey once again.

My mindset was a bit different as I laid down this time. It was no longer relief that I sought in sleep, but rather rest. Rest that I knew was much needed because I would go and experience the next day with all the wonder that I felt in that timeless moment just minutes before.

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