The other night I spent time with one of my oldest, dearest friends, Sara. As is custom, we spent part of our time at the piano singing and sharing songs with each other and laughing. It was past 1 a.m. by the time I was leaving her house, and she offered to give me a ride, despite the fact that I only live a block away from her. As we headed to the car, we all at once decided to take a walk around the quiet suburban streets.
We’d both been on these streets so many times in our twentysomething years, often together, finding adventures and mischief. Tonight was no exception. As we walked, we both realized how long it had been since we had simply done that very thing—walked in the wee hours of the morning just for the sake of walking.
The night was perfectly clear. It was a new moon. A gentle breeze rustled through the treetops. We walked several blocks, skipping and spinning and taking in the absolute beauty of the night. And at that moment, we both felt so surrounded by God. We started back down my street, still several blocks from home. And it was then that I saw it, a shooting star, perfectly brief and serene. It took my breath away. We decided to lie down in the center of the road (it’s a small town, no cars were around). We giggled as we were reminded of a scene from The Notebook.
We waited patiently for more shooting stars. And they came. One … but she thought it was her imagination. Then another, and we both saw it. It seemed even more special that we’d seen it together. We must have lain there for a half an hour, talking about the constellations and how fast the earth is spinning and the atmosphere and what happens when cosmic dust enters the atmosphere and burns up; and reminiscing about our childhoods. At one point I said, "You know, I have been in this very spot so many times, but I’ve never looked up just to see the sky for the stars."
It was such a good thing just to be still.
What amazed me most was that the longer we started at the sky, the more we noticed. The sheer magnitude of the stars, the way the sky didn’t look flat at all but truly spherical, the absence of the moon. The longer we were still, the more the night came alive. No man could have made such a thing come into being—no busyness or handiwork or words or wishes. But with just a few simple words, the God of all creation spoke this beauty into being. And yet He is still mindful of me, an impossibly small speck on the face of a sphere that bides it time spinning in circles. And even more, He is jealously in love with me, sacrificing all just to reach me. And I am left asking myself how I could ever be lax in my pursuit of or response to Him.
Sometimes the stillness is what is needed to capture our attention; and that is truly the way I believe it is intended to be.