I woke up abruptly at 3:00 am last night, just as I was about to sink my teeth into a dreamy whip cream smothered Belgian waffle. Suddenly I was wide awake and hungry. I tried to fall back asleep, but soon found myself wandering to the kitchen to have a yogurt.
In the past two years I have made this midnight trek many times. When I was heavily pregnant with Jonah I couldn't sleep, my hips hurt, and I was hungry all of the time. I would toss and turn, trying to force sleep to come, and then finally succumb to a sleeve of Oreos or a bowl of Marshmallow Mateys.
After Jonah was born I would hear his cry in the night, pry myself from the warmth of my bed, and stumble to the kitchen to warm a bottle for him. I remember leaning over the kitchen sink feeling a new level of exhaustion. My eyes were barely open, my coordination gone. My critical thinking skills vanquished by short two hours stretches of sleep. Often, as I waited, I would try to remind myself to turn off the lights, and look out the window at the stars. At 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning the stars are vibrant. Simply amazing. I tried to appreciate that I could witness a simple moment of intense beauty because I wasn't sleeping. I always stood for a moment in the dark, and let my eyes wander over the glowing constellations.
Last night I remembered that feeling. The feeling of being awake, when the world around you is asleep. The feeling of being alone, and quiet, and surrounded by the night. I thought about the stars that I have seen this year, as I stumble through my personal darkness. I recognize that it is the darkness that allows me to see the love of my family. It is the darkness that lets me witness the kindness of my friends and neighbors. It is the darkness that illuminates the depth of my love for Jordan and Jonah. And most of all it is the darkness that has opened my heart to God's love for me. I often feel that I would rather be lost in quiet, peaceful, slumber with the rest of the world. But I am grateful for the few quiet moments when I see the light and wonder of the stars.
To us also, through every star, through every blade of grass, is not God made visible if we will open our minds and our eyes.