night lights

As I walked out into the parking lot when I left work (late) yesterday the full moon was there to greet me. A bright, shining orb lighting up the early evening. The sky behind seemed darker due to the moon’s dazzling light. The trees were quiet silhouettes, supporting the scene from below. The night was clear and the edge of the moon was crisp against the night. There were mere wisps of clouds, stretched out like thin pulls of cotton, drifting across the sky.

I couldn’t believe it was so dark, so I turned around to view the western sky. Sure enough it was a bit lighter, and  the lower sky was a deep azure, fading up into deeper and darker blues. Glorious colors filled the sky.  I stopped to stare, transfixed. Again, the treetops looked like a cut-out lower border to the display. And of course there was the lone evening star, brilliant, even against the glowing sky.

Deep breaths filled my lungs and contentment filled my soul.

This morning I woke early and looked to see what the moon was up to. Now on the other side of the sky, it was quite different from last night. There was a thin veil of clouds covering it, but its light still penetrated and it kept its full shape. I viewed it in its place, high in the sky, this time through the tops of trees that had lost most of their leaves. The light made shadows of the mostly bare limbs. The wind was strong and steady, and the few remaining leaves shivered and trembled constantly, like tiny organisms wiggling in a microscope’s lens.

What a contrast. With the giant east coast storm sending tendrils our way, this morning scene reminded me how quickly things change and how powerful Nature can be.

a song in his head

My father was older than my mother and had been a diabetic for almost 50 years. We all assumed that my mother would outlive him, but her cancer changed all that. When my mother passed away my father was devastated. She had catered to his needs, and they did everything together. Simply put, he was lost without her.

However, he did his best to carry on. He became more outgoing and congenial. I consider that time I had with my dad after my mother was gone as a gift. I got to know him better, as did my husband and children, and we made some special memories together.

Then, a mere five months after Mama died, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. It astonished us all, and I think it frightened him terribly. He had seen my mother suffer and feared that for himself. Yet he bravely began radiation treatments and tried to make the best of things. But complications piled one on top of another. His glucose levels, which were always regulated well with medication, began to vary wildly. His mind would drift right before our eyes. Still, his optimism and hope remained.

One day when he was in the hospital he asked me if I could hear that sound. “I hear it all the time,” he told me. Of course I heard nothing. “Does it scare you?” I asked. ‘No, it is a sweet song,” he replied, “You hear music?” I continued. “Yes, I do,” he answered. The next day I asked him if he still heard it. “Off and on all night long,” he said. “I kept thinking it was someone’s TV or radio, but I think it is just in my head.”

His physical ailments troubled me greatly, but now I was more afraid of him losing his reasoning. The doctors had given him little time to live, and I wanted the days he had left to be filled with happy occasions and good times, not fearful moments and shadows of who he once was. I selfishly wanted my daddy to be daddy, not some stranger who heard noises and couldn’t remember who I was.

Soon after that, daddy left the hospital and went to a nursing facility. His first night there he fell and broke his hip. He was never the same after the surgery that followed and passed away two weeks later. Knowing he was reunited with my mother gave me encouragement in the midst of our loss.

And I knew he wasn’t afraid through his last days. I knew this because that day in the hospital he told me what song he was hearing in his head. Over and over. “It’s a church song,” he had told me. “And it makes me feel safe.”

I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear the Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.