The View From Space

Last weekend when we went camping, when David and I were the only ones awake in the tent and the night was filled with soft snuffles and deep breathing and a whole lot of quiet, I tried to say how I was feeling.

It was nearly impossible.  (Bear with me.)

I tried.  And said sentences about just how much space was really up there, how up here on this high mountain, spinning around an axis, you could almost catch the breeze of the universe as it spun past.  It was like sticking your head out a car window, but with stars and milky ways and supernovas streaming past.  All that was above us was the deepness and vastness of space!  I felt so exposed and vulnerable. 

And yet at the very same time, I could hear my children breathing beside me, dreaming birthday dreams, melted smores smeared on their cheeks and cool mountain air on their eyelids.  I felt charmed and blessed, I felt endowed with the greatest gifts that vast universe had to offer.  I felt completely known and seen and watched by heaven, like maybe this night with my little family was just what heaven had in mind when they did all the work to create this mountain.  

It was a jumble.  It was a feeling...of being both big and small at once.  I could picture myself from space, our very blessed tent just a tiny dot on a globe turning its way from dark to light, slowly, slowly.  I waved.

David uh-huhhed beside me and put his face in my neck, his way of saying he had no idea what I meant, but he likes my company anyway.

I felt like I was on the very precipice and in the hand of heaven at the very same moment.  I lay there in the dark, feeling the slow rotation of the earth underneath me, unaware of the changes that were just a few rotations away.

Last Saturday, Olivia didn't wear make-up.  This Saturday she wore both mascara and lip gloss and the tiniest bit of light blue eyeshadow.

Last Saturday, Olivia had the hairy, happy legs of a child.  This Saturday she had the smooth, freshly shaved legs of a young woman.

Last weekend, Olivia had never been to a young women's meeting at church.  This weekend, her first beehive activity made it onto her "list of highs" around the dinner table.

Last Friday, David was late getting back from work and so we got a late start and set up our tent in semi-darkness.  This Friday, David and I went to a movie in the middle of day because he had no where else to be.

Last Friday night, we packed the car with the campstove and sleeping bags, and spent the night howling around a campfire.  This Friday night, we cleaned out David's office and loaded the car with ten years of memories and work accumulation, and spent the night sobbing into our Oregano's meatballs and making lists of states we'd always dreamed of living in.  (It was some consolation.) 

Last week, David and I had separate work spaces.  This week, we are sharing.

Last week, David had a job.  This week, he doesn't.

I have had the same feelings that I had that night in the tent.  So acutely aware of the vastness of space...aware of the gaping maw, the loss of the ground under my feet.  And an even deeper awareness of the gracious hand of heaven that is watching over us and providing a new way in the darkness.

One of my very favorite scriptures is in the book of Luke:

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 

Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give good gifts, through the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

I have said that to myself a hundred times since last weekend.  Our Father in Heaven does not give evil gifts.  I am a witness to the absolute goodness of his gifts.