Nothing floors me flat on the ground and nothing puts me in my place like coming home on a clear night. Hi, God.
Last night, the day had been a long. Work in the morning, straight to VBS in the evening, topped off by a late night at the ballpark.
I’d been taking in the church softball games with a few friends, most of the spectators having worn thin by the last out, around 11 p.m. Those friends scattered to meet up with others and I gathered my things and headed for the parking lot.
Walking by myself, and slowly, I had a feeling of aimlessness. I’m not really sure why, but I just walked to my car feeling like I was dragging something. I looked up at the sky just before I got into the car, met with a big blur of dark blue, dotted by a few visible stars peeking off in the distance.
The drive home was dark and quiet, the radio humming softly for background noise, that heavy feeling still lingering.
After 20 minutes alone with nothing but my mysterious uncertainty, the turnoff for our dirt road came up on the left. I maneuvered my little Ford Taurus down the choppy dirt.
There’s something about the dirt road that sets the stage for the majesty of a clear, starry night out at our house. Rustic and natural. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it somehow all ties together to make something wonderful.
I pulled around the corner where the dirt road splits, heading up the hill to our house. I always chuckle to myself as I pass the “DEAD END” sign marking the fork, knowing what lies beyond it is anything but dead.
The dirt road turned into cement as I made the turn for the long haul up the driveway, pulling in right behind my brother’s black Jeep. I let the song I’d been listening to play out before I turned off the ignition and plunged the yard back into darkness.
I waited a little, sighed heavily. I let my eyes adjust to the blackness, gathered my things, opened the car door and stepped outside.
My first thought whenever I get home after dark is to look up. Today, I was momentarily distracted: the front lawn and surrounding fields were literally sparkling.
There is nothing like it in the world and no way to describe it. Fireflies everywhere. The thought of fireflies dancing doesn’t sound so childish when you look into an open field on a summer night. Because that’s exactly what they’re doing.
After I caught my breath (even though I’ve seen it a million times), I remembered to look up. WHAM. I almost couldn’t take it all in at once. One of the clearest nights I’ve seen out there.
Looking up at that sky, you feel like you can see forever. You feel like you can see into eternity, like it’s God’s window into heaven, the closest glimpse we’ll get (for now).
My dramatization may allude to the fact that the sky is my faith perspective. When I see the sky on a clear night, constellations and the milky way woven through the endless black, or a sunset, or a cloud pattern stretching beyond sight, it hits me every time: God’s an artist. And a darn powerful one, too. And that just snowballs into a whole new can of faith worms. The sky can smack things back into perspective for me faster than (almost) anything. It's beyond comprehension.
Whatever I’d been moping about on the drive back, I’d completely forgotten about. I look at the lawn and I look up at the sky, and the majesty and presence of Christ is too overwhelming to think of anything else.
Now, nights like these, during the summer, aren’t all that rare out by our house. But I can confidently say they will never become routine.