He stood on tiptoes to peer through the telescopes at a blinding crescent or a striped giant or those unbelievable rings. As he scampered and chattered from one planet to the next, my eyes were drawn back to the new moon hanging over the darkening horizon.
I love the moon. I think she is irresistibly beautiful. The moon calms me in a way little else does. Her unruffled progress through the sky reminds me that if I could lift myself out of this hectic world there is order and beauty and steadiness. The sun still burns, the earth and moon still spin. The grand scheme is still progressing.
The next morning I told the baby about our trip to the observatory as I changed his diaper.
"You should have seen the moon," I said. He stared at me attentively as he gummed a toy. "She was beautiful." Then I realized that in all his nine months he's probably never looked at the moon. I distinctly remember pointing it out to him once while he cheerfully peered at my fingertip.
But as I started to explain the moon, I realized that she shouldn't be beautiful. She is a barren, colorless rock. She has no air to protect her from the emptiness of space. Her skin is scarred from every piece of rock or ice that has ever struck her. She will never erase the footprints left on her surface.
But although she should be plain - ugly even - she is stunning.
And all she does to be stunning is to stay where she is and reflect the sunlight.
I was struck by the fact that there’s a sort of redemption going on there.
Just not the sort I usually think of.
It seems like redeeming something should involve taking the broken thing and healing it, restoring it to its original perfection. Or bringing it to a perfection that it has never even had. But there is a different stage in redemption that I run into daily. A redemption where God takes something that is imperfect, and without healing a thing, shines his light on it.
Not a glaring fluorescent light that makes every defect stand out in sickly green, but the warm light of the sun that transforms the dull thing it touches and uses it to breathe beauty into a whole world.
I don’t want to be the moon. She looks lonely up there and I don’t want to be someplace where rocks hurl out of the darkness at me. There’s enough of that down here.
As with everyone else, life has thrown rocks at me. And it just keeps throwing rocks at everyone. There is sickness and death and betrayal and lies and greed and the sorts of awful things that make gripping novels but desperate lives.
Sometimes I’m afraid God isn’t powerful enough to redeem our fallen world because he doesn’t charge in and wipe all that pain away. He doesn’t stop all those rocks. He could, but he doesn’t.
So I don't want to be the moon, but I’d like to be a little like her.
I’d like to not worry about the scars I have. I'd like to remember that somehow, even before I am perfected, the very flaws I’m longing to be healed from are already being redeemed.
I believe that someday God will completely redeem his creation. Someday the imperfections and scars will disappear. I wish it would happen today. But I look at the moon and realize that she was placed there for specific reasons and I know that God has plans. The grand scheme is still progressing.
So I would like to be a little like the moon,content with the scars I have,content with the beauty I have.Patiently moving through my life,content for now to be at the point in redemption where I am.
I'm not sure my big boy believed me when I told him my favorite part of the night was seeing the moon and I'm not sure the baby believed me that she really is beautiful. But it was and she is and even if my boys think I'm a bit crazy, I'd like to be a little like the moon.