A few nights ago, NASA launched the Antares rocket from Wallops Island off the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia. I don’t really care about such things, but my husband does and he alerted me to the time of the launch, where visibility would be best and the precise location in the night sky where to turn my gaze.
Frankly, I didn’t pay attention. I was going to let this one pass.
Then at 7:35 PM, five minutes before lift off, my often prickly, rarely excited daughter called down from her room, “Mom, are you ready to go?” And so I put on my shoes and a jacket over my pjs, and headed outside to stand in the empty field across from my house and stare into the starry night.
For several moments, she and I stood silent, our heads back, taking in the vast expanse, sprinkled here and there with tiny dots of light. Some we decided were stars, others satellites or airplanes – none seemed to be the rocket.
Then, just as we turned to walk back inside, Anne exclaimed, “Look!” To our amazement, we saw the red glow of the launcher and then the afterglow of white as the rocket pulled away. We stood as Antares moved across the sky until our eyes could no longer see it.
As we stood on our porch, I realized the gift of the night watch. Even when we cannot see them, the stars and the rockets are shining brightly. When the darkness seems so present, when the shadows dim the light, and when our own inner gloom dulls life’s sparkle, I consider this good news – good news that is echoed in the gospel of John who reminds us that “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
May God’s word be to you like a star (or rocket) in the night sky, giving off light, catching you by surprise and shining in the darkness.
Blessings – Lynne