I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the moon lately.
It all started about a week ago when my husband and I read about the Super Moon. Last Saturday night, the moon would be closer to the Earth than usual, making it appear much larger than normal. It also was going to be a full moon that would emerge over the horizon at almost the exact same time the sun was going down, causing it to glow in the sky even brighter than usual. In fact, this Super Moon was supposed to be so super that it would be an opportunity to see the moon looking larger than it has in 10 years.
My husband and I both started reading photography blogs to find out the best way to shoot the Super Moon. We wanted to know what settings to use on the camera. We planned out the best spot to see the moon. And we had to figure out the timing.
What time does the moon rise anyway? That’s when my fascination with the moon really began. I printed out a chart showing all of the times of the moonset and the moonrise in my area for the year. As I looked at the chart, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Many days of the month the moon does not rise and set at night at all. Sometimes, the moon makes its appearance during the day and then also sets during the day. What?!
How is it possible that I have lived on this planet for 44 years, and this entire time I thought that I could count on the moon to come out at night? I knew that sometimes I could see the moon during the day. But I thought it had to do with the sky being exceptionally clear or some other factor and that the moon would still be hanging around when the sun went to bed.
I decided I must be reading the chart wrong. How could there be days when the moonrise was at 6:07 and the moonset was at 20:52? I must be misunderstanding military time because in my book, the moon should not be coming out at 6:07 a.m. on some days, just to go back down at 8:52 p.m. What about the rest of the night? This was rocking my world!
I even did a Google search asking the question: “Does the moon always come out at night?”
I found more charts confirming the first one, and many detailed explanations about the phases of the moon and its cycle around the Earth. Then one writer summed it up quite simply: The reason many people don’t understand the pattern of the moon is that they don’t spend much time looking up at the sky.
That statement has been on my mind ever since. Most nights during the last week, I have been awakened in the middle of the night for one reason or another. I find myself going downstairs and opening the front door and sitting outside on my front porch. I don’t care that I’m wearing my PJs. I don’t care if someone sees me. I want to find that crazy moon. Thankfully, since it’s still at the end of its “Super Moon” stage, it’s been out this week in its fullness, glowing brighter than ever.
I sit there at night marveling at the moon.
I realize that I don’t spend enough time looking up at the sky.
In fact, I’ve been spending way too much time looking around me lately. I suppose I could blame it on the moon, since they say a full one can make people a bit crazy. But I’ve been in a funk lately.
I’ve just been tired. Tired of cooking and cleaning and doing laundry. Tired of working so hard and running so fast. Tired of organizing things and planning. Tired of trying.
I keep looking at all of the people around me, and everyone else seems to have it so together. The other moms have these nice personalities that people seem to love. They are prettier and happier. Their houses are cleaner. They get invited and included. They are funnier and wittier.
They cook healthier food and make fruit juices and smoothies and protein shakes. They are in better shape. They run gazillions of miles. They read books and go to interesting places.
The other bloggers are more popular than I am. They have successful blogs that people actually read. The other photographers take better photos. The other people who have jobs like mine build better websites and design better images and write snappier e-mails.
In fact, I’ve kind of wanted to dig a hole and crawl into it and just disappear for a few months.
But then I go outside and look up in the sky and the moon has been helping me put things into perspective.
It reminds me of the bigger picture. It’s so easy to get caught up in the sameness of the day-to-day. It’s so easy to focus so much on where we need to be and what we need to do and how we will get it all done, that we forget about the bigger purpose. It’s so easy to keep going through the motions of living life, that we forget that our time here is limited. That there’s a reason that we are here.
I’ve been looking up and standing in awe of what I’m part of. This enormous planet. The complex galaxy. The moon and sun with their precise placement and schedules that keep the planet stable and allow plants to grow and keep us from burning up or freezing to death.
I think about the One who created all of these things and how it was done with so much thought and care and creativity. I think about that same maker who cares about me. Who shows me grace when I don’t deserve it. Who loves me despite all of my faults and weaknesses.
I think about His plan for my life. And my purpose on this planet.
I printed out the chart of all of the times of the moonrise and the moonset and put it on the refrigerator. It’s my reminder to go outside and look for the moon each day.
It reminds me to spend more time looking up.