Thursday, September 5, 2013

Starry, starry night

“There is something beautiful about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He is doing.”
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

Earlier this summer I spent two weeks in Telluride, Colorado. Telluride is a rather isolated town in a box canyon, high in the Rocky Mountains in southwest Colorado. And it is beautiful, beautiful beyond description.

My insomnia did not disappear in the high altitude and cool, clean air like I had hoped it would. But insomnia has its advantages. On more than one night I could hear a bear noisily rummaging through our trash cans. The trash cans have bear locks on them so the most bears can do is knock them over and kick them up the alley. The locks don’t stop them from trying. I looked out my bedroom window but it was so dark that I couldn’t see the bear, even though it was just feet from our back door. I’m not foolish enough to go outside and try to chase a bear with a broom.

One night, at about 3 a.m., after being awake for what seemed like forever, I slipped past my granddaughters’ bedroom and down the stairs. The living room of the house we were renting is two stories high with one wall, floor to ceiling windows, facing the ski slope. I lay on the sofa, looking up at the amazing sky. There was no moonlight so it was very dark and there was not a cloud in the sky. Never have I witnessed a sky like that—stars and stars and more stars.

I thought about the Donald Miller quote that I have on my bulletin board and I thought about how amazing the universe is, how amazing God is to have created it, and how little I understand. I realized that those stars are still hanging in that sky in the daytime, when it’s cloudy, when we can’t see them. The simply amazing universe doesn’t change, doesn’t go away when I can’t see it. Just like the billions of stars, God is always there, even when I don’t feel His presence, even though I don’t see Him.

I learned some things that night on the couch in Telluride. I learned that I can’t expect a bear to show up on my schedule. I learned that I should find more ways to take advantage of insomnia. And I learned that I’m a flawed human being with limited understanding and that God’s power and awesome creation are much greater than I ever could imagine.

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