i missed the moon
…not just any moon, the great warrior orb of autumn, the hunter moon. round and orange and overwhelming, like a dreamsicle melting from the night sky. and i missed it.
well, at least i caught a peek, the skinniest sliver of a peek, as i was darting here or there or nowhere.
but it takes some work to miss the moon that bathes the world below in luminescence. i must have been holed up inside a world of worries, of syria and betrayals and beheadings. i must have been nursing the tender spots of a mama who’d just packed up her youngest and dropped him at the jetway that would carry him 300 miles from where i’ve doted over him all these years.
in the house where i grew up to miss a moon — or a cardinal, or a loon, or the frog’s croak rising from the pond across the way — to miss any of the sighs and moans and spectacles of god’s creation was what amounted to a sin. in my mama’s book of rules, anyway.
you daren’t let on that you were too busy with your nose in the news. or worrying about the dustballs under your bed. too distracted to notice was not allowed. or so’s the truth as i absorbed it.
chased in part by guilt (a guilt that unlike the moon never ebbs), but even more so by an unquenchable thirst, a sense that i’d strayed too far from the thin-spun silken thread that ties heaven to earth to what passes for my soul. if i missed the moon, the great wide-cheeked nightbeam of october, i wonder what else i’d missed, what stirrings of the earth that were sure to launch my own deep-down stirrings, remind me of my own still small place beneath the immensities of the one who’d carved us — and all creation — from the depths and heights of divine imagination?
so i strapped on my sturdy walking shoes, and found myself crouched down low amid the grasses that swish and sway against the sand mounds, the ones that catch the wind off the lake, and rustle as do the faithful in the pews when sabbath comes.
i sank low and lower, not to hide so much as to immerse myself in lowliness. to drench myself in the posture of humility, of raw-edged vulnerability so necessary for reverence.
to behold the miracle of heaven above and all around, i find i need to grow small and smaller. ours is a world of oversized ego, oversized hubris, oversized oversize. the bigger the better. except, quite frankly, in matters of the blessed. to be willing to hear the holy whisper. to find satisfaction in steady footfall, one after another. to partake of the arithmetic of saints, by little and by little, by little acts of kindness, of courage, of hope. to relish the infinitesimal, the dew drop of the dawn, the twilight song of the red-bird preacher on highest bough, the flutter of the heartbeat when love swoops down, wipes away the loneliness, the ache of the empty vessel.
i stayed long enough to walk the beach, playing catch-me-if-you-can with rippling waves. i walked and watched the roiling sky. charcoal gray, i find, is supremely lovely up above. it portends drama just ahead. and, indeed, when raindrops came in dime-sized plops, i picked up my pace. ducked beneath a maple tree whose boughs had just been daubed by autumn’s crimson paintbrush.
i inhaled a quart or so of morning vapors. filled my lungs, my heart, my soul with God’s most necessary ingredient: quiescence, the underlay of all the richest risings, the prayers that wend their way past worldly noise, the ones that from the deepest stillest dancepoint of our earthly selves ascend. to there, where prayers are heard, even in their wordlessness. and the One Who Hears echoes in kind the blessing, sating us in ways no other ever will.
how do you drink up all the holiness you crave? where’s your deep down quiet place?
Oh my … yes. Every word of this. Sigh.
Xoxo sighing right along with you….
My quiet places: On some vacations to fun places, I carve out a few days to “vacation with God” by staying at Benedictine monasteries: St. Meinrad (southern Indiana), Weston Priory (Vermont), Abbey of Gethsemani (Kentucky, where Thomas Merton lived) to name a few. Other places, too, such as the guest house at L’Arche Daybreak in the Toronto area, where Henri Nouwen was pastor for his last 10 years. They booked me into HIS OLD ROOM. (Be still my heart.)
Next Friday, Oct. 25, I am doing a presentation on “Vacationing with God” at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Naperville, at 7:00 pm. It is free but registration is necessary. Those of you in the Chicago area, come for the wine/coffee socializing with kindred spirits, and to enjoy a spiritual travelogue. Here is the link: https://www.stapostle.org/sophias-circle-for-women/
This is sooooo heavenly (literally). I must vacation with God—and soon! More than even a walk on a beach. Certainly.
I wish I could go Friday night, and love knowing you are out spreading this gospel❤️
“. . . . the moon, the great wide-cheeked nightbeam of October. . . .”
“i sank low and lower, not to hide so much as to immerse myself in lowliness. to drench myself in the posture of humility, of raw-edged vulnerability so necessary for reverence.”
“to behold the miracle of heaven above and all around, i find i need to grow small and smaller.”
Did you know, sweet B, that you are my nightingale? xxx
no, sweetheart, i did not know! have never had nightingale and my name in same such sentence. delighted to find you here at the table, as i listen to the pit-a-pat of october morning rain, and catch up with the many things that rumble underfoot when away for the weekend — parents weekend at sweet kenyon college was more than my little soul could ever have asked for: brilliant lecture by Caitlin Flanagan, a cappella concert, going to our sweet boy’s classes, poking around a fall harvest festival, meeting T’s friends and friends’ lovely parents. oh my. i think i purr most loudly when on leafy college campuses…….