I couldn't focus.
I'd been home alone all afternoon, watching snow fall outside the big window, watching the clouds clear and the sky pinken as the sun set, listening to the same songs on the radio play over and over again. By the time 7pm rolled around, I felt like my brain was on repeat, too. I'd had my phone in my hand all day like it was glued to me, and every time I tried to put it down and picked up my journal, I'd find myself bent over the keypad again, neck curved down to punch in my PIN number.
I ran up and down all the stairs in the house four times, and couldn't shake the heat in my belly, the numbness in my head, the boiled-over feeling in my heart. I'd written a poem about telescopes, and I was sitting at the table watching car headlights flick by on the street next to the house, when I remembered the clear sunset and wondered if I'd be able to see the stars.
Without grabbing a coat, I pulled a shawl on top of my sweater and reached for the back door, feet in boots and a kind of desperation in my soul. I wanted to feel the cold against my skin, not hide from it -- I wanted to be pulled out of my warm, comfortable afternoon. I wanted to be awakened.
The snow on the deck crunched underneath my feet and I blinked as my eyes adjusted to the dark, the hair rising on my forearms. My breath clouded like smoke in front of my eyes, but when I looked up, I saw Cassiopeia. All my life, the only constellations I've ever been able to recognize were the twin dippers, but Cassiopeia had been on the astronomy midterm exam, and she was stuck in my head -- and then, she was right before my eyes, her lazy W stretched above the house. Seeing her sent a cold shock of energy through me, and even though I'd only intended to take a quick peek, maybe find the big dipper and then go back inside, suddenly, I wanted to walk. The deck stairs creaked as I climbed down, gulping back deep breaths of icy air until I could feel the chill in my lungs. I traced footprinted paths in the fresh snow behind the house, my eyes searching the sky. The wind whistled through my shawl and against my skin, and I imagined it going clean through me.
God, I have so much junk inside me these days, I found myself thinking. I make everything so complicated with worries and complications and what-ifs and guesses about my future. I imagined the wind cleaning me out, sweeping the cobwebs out of my head and stealing away all the things I'd been holding on to that didn't really matter at all. When I reached the end of the lawn, I turned around, walking back to the house in my own footprints and trying to only think about the things that were actually important as the wind howled around the corners of the house and the hairs on my neck raised to attention.
I almost missed it, stuck in my warm, numb little bubble inside the house, tied to my phone and penning poems about stars with my head down and the lights on. I almost missed Cassiopeia right above my head because I was too busy writing about telescopes and trying to focus with my smartphone two inches away from my pen. Tonight was a unique kind of gift - not the kind I'd been asking for, with all the answers tied up in a bow, but a reminder that there is so much beauty in the meantime. There is so much going on outside of my tiny little world; there are so many things bigger than even my most insurmountable problems. Tonight was a reminder that God likes to surprise me, and that he cares enough to wake me up even when I'm being particularly slow and dull. God's all about the little things... and tonight he gave me a sliver of sky, because he loves me too much to let me do this alone, and because he knows the keys to my future are safer in his hands than in my own.
Goodnight, Cassiopeia. It was nice to finally meet you.
just some thoughts from last Thursday night... what does the sky look like where you are? what is your beauty in the meantime?
I put up a post at Burning Youth before Christmas and completely forgot to share with all of you! It's about rest - and still applicable! Check it out here and show the awesome Burning Youth authors some love!