I went out to Lake Pleasant last night with some friends. We set up camp, kayaked for awhile, and cooked some burgers on the grill. At night we spent two hours sitting around a citronella candle, as if it were a campfire, almost in silence… nobody talked. It was kind of weird. I felt like I was asking all the questions, and no one was asking questions about me, but that’s ok…I’m cool with that.

When it finally came time to crash out (I had to be at work this morning), I found myself laying in the tent looking out the “skylight” window of the tent, through the screen at the stars.

The stars shone brilliantly overhead, and all was silent except for the distant ruckus from a party on the other side of the lake, and occasional ripples in the water from far off boat engines. I stared at the sky, unable to sleep (I was sleeping on rocks), and I began to thing about…. these stars.

Oh how much these stars have seen. Orion, though perpetually seeking the game he cannot find, has seen so many wars, and famines and plagues, and nations that have risen and fallen. Tauras the bull has seen countless romantic nights between lovers, and billions of kisses under his glowing gaze. Cassiopeia and her chrystalline shimmer remembers lonely walks on Spring nights, the newness of life along with all its scents and pleasures under her watch.

These stars remember those late nights at camp, when I would stare and them and dream on the docks… with the locust symphony and the bullfrog quartet playing sweet music, orchestrating religion better than any priest ever could. These stars tell the story of grandma’s backyard in the foothills of Kansas, her windchimes ring a chaotic yet mysteriously patterned celestial chime. These stars tell of my lonely walk on thanksgiving break… all my other college friends gone home, walking the empty streets of Manhattan, experiencing a sorrow for something lost that I’ve never really had. Written within the memories these stars seem to so easily recall are clues to what is at the center of the universe, the center of humanity, and at the center of my heart and all my memories. They tell of a creator. They tell of an artist behind it all.

What an artist is he! Painting the stories of men and women’s lives with incredible diversity, a divine impressionist, fading shades of sherbert orange and periwinkle and hiding them in desert sunsets, or a bit of dark and a couple distant diamonds which cause me, at just the right time in life to remember, memories that have made me who I am.

Caught up for a moment, and breathless, my heart was pounding within. I lay there silently in my three person tent, a few around me snoring steadily. I felt…full. And what a great feeling that is… completeness. Wholeness. Fulfillment. Shalom.

I even made it to work on time in the morning. With a hazelnut latte.

“night after night they display knowledge” Ps. 19

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