Like so many people I want to travel–to visit Ireland, Zambia, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Australia and well, pretty much every other place in the world. I want to drive a car again, and fly another plane. I’d love to see my books get published, make the perfect chocolate chip cookie, take some outstanding photos and learn to tap dance. I don’t necessarily want to do it all in public, mind you, but that’s not the point.
Those things will always be part of my list. But this summer, the bucket changed significantly. You see, I’ve been treated to a fantastic view of the Big Dipper most evenings. It’s been perfectly framed in my window for weeks now. It was always there but we took down two big, diseased trees this spring that no doubt played hide & seek with it.
I’m not sure I’d have paid much attention until Chris Hadfield started to post photos of earth that he took from the International Space Station. (If you haven’t seen any of his videos, you’ve missed out. Everyone should see what happens when he wrings out a face cloth in space). He singlehandedly made me notice the skies again and it’s been such a gift.
Now, when I crawl into bed and roll over to look out the window, there it is–Ursa Major. I’ll confess, I don’t see a bear, even when I look at the star map. The only part I see is the Big Dipper and it’s the new bucket for my list.
Tonight, I’m going to remember all the blessings and trials that made up my day, and fling them in the direction of the bucket. Pleading prayers about friends who are fighting cancer, depression, self-injury or addiction. Curious prayers about why the mustard I canned is so bitter, or why it’s so hard to manage my weight. Thanksgiving prayers for the flowers my sweet husband bought for me or a long telephone call with a dear friend. And for sure, I’m bundling joyful heart songs because of fantastic results to a test I took. I’ll express my delight at finally having a kindred-spirit friend, and I’ll recognize the blessing of being treasured.
I’ll ask how to offer that same gift to others. I know what it’s like now. And I never want to forget it.
I love how God uses something created on the fourth day to remind me he’s still here, thousands of years later. Even when my bucket is shrouded by clouds, I know God is holding it ready to accept my gratitude, my worries, my thoughts. Better still, people on my prayer list feel closer somehow. I can settle in at night and release every concern to make room for every joy.
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
Psalm 8:3-4 The Message
Extra–The Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 has some fantastic photos. Check them out!