I slept under the stars for two nights.
The stars shone brighter than I remembered. It’s been years since I spent the night under the canopy of stars, with moonlight and stars providing the nightlight.
But with cooler weather, one of my sons convinced me to give it a try. We have hammocks, he said. They even have nets, he said.
So we zippered up in our netted hammocks (because even in cooler weather, South Louisiana has mosquitoes that will carry you away.) It felt loud and quiet all at the same time. Like nature whispers and shouts, and you wonder how you’ve missed it all for so long.
Our hammocks swung over the water. Owls hooted throughout the night. Boats passed, and waves lapped against the boat dock. Brown pelicans played some kind of night time game that sometimes sounded like a screaming match between wild animals.
But the last bright light I saw before my eyes finally closed for the night was the light of a thousand stars and the beam of the moon.
I realized then what my nights have often become. It’s an image on a screen that usually gives me my final light for the day. A quick read of an email or a scroll through social media. My eyes shut with someone else’s life being last on my mind.
But under the stars, with no phone, my mind rested. My soul stirred. I remembered to “consider the heavens” and contemplate their maker. How had I forgotten how simple it could all truly be?
I read similar words in the words on the page of a book: “…the practice of reminding ourselves he is the creator of everything we love will be a rescue of our faith,” says John Eldredge in “Get Your Life Back.”
Under the stars and undistracted, I knew I needed more than my life back. My soul needed rescuing as well. Because it felt undone. Tired. Worn out. Close to giving up the faith.
This “blistering pace of life” as Eldredge phrases it has worn me thinner than I care to admit.
But the stars didn’t ask anything of me. Only gave me their light by which to spend the night. The moon beamed and it reminded me of all the good things I love. I was in the place I call “my favorite place on this side of heaven.” Other people call it Cocodrie, but I call it paradise.
So when the second night came, and my son asked if I wanted to sleep out there again, I was all in. By this point, people started thinking I was losing my mind. My mom asked why. My other kids rolled their eyes. But I knew I needed to be reminded of the creator who creates. And I needed to be reminded of a faith that once shone bright as the stars, but lately feels as lackluster as my worn-out soul.
The second night went much the same as the first. I tried counting stars, only to remember it’s impossible. I saw the moon rise over the horizon, slowly creeping from the edges of the earth to the center of the sky. I didn’t mind the screaming of the birds over the water, and even the passing of the boats seemed a little more like nighttime magic than ordinary noise.
And the night went quiet. My soul fell still, and the beauty that surrounded me still put on a show even when my eyelids could no longer remain open to see its glory. The beauty all around us is always there, it’s simply our job to look. POV