I find it hard not to gaze at the moon lately. My little ones will be running around our neighborhood playground on a clear evening of big blue sky and whispy white clouds as we hear the rush of traffic whizzing by on the highway just ahead of us. We live in a unique location of the city. Most people do not pack up their family and move into a neighborhood to become a minority in a foreign culture, let alone into the heart of a gang-saturated neighborhood. My porch does not look out upon a field of lavender or the beauty of the ocean in the distance. Instead there is a construction site. There are no peaceful brooks flowing past us or trees to climb, flowers to stop and wonder at. Instead, there is a gravel parking lot on one side of our apartment complex and an inhabited lot that consists of a delapitated trailer, numerous beat up cars, trash, old furniture, and countless other items, including, I believe, a rooster, making it resemble more of a garbage dump than a neighbor’s house. But this is where God has called us for a time, and there is beauty here!
Perhaps that is why, when the kids are happily playing with their friends in our communal backyard, my gaze turns upward… to the moon. I’ve never noticed the moon so much as I have this year living at our apartment complex. Its where I find nature, a sweet reprieve from the concrete. Having never studied the moon in much detail, I’ve had ample time to notice its movements, its phases, its spots and blotches of white and gray. The way it curves upward and over the horizon and the way it unabashadly proclaims the glory of God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat. Psalm 19:1-6
On the eve of the Supermoon this past summer, I carried my baby in my arms and made my way down to the playground in the warm evening air, the community abuzz in the moonlight. My husband had taken the kids to play and I wanted to join them in watching the huge orange moon.
You see, I love to be in nature, surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. Its a comfort to me and peaceful to be standing at the edge of the ocean or making my way through the forest trails. Perhaps He is changing my gaze upward, beyond this world to see His glory in all the Heavens and to show me how small I really am and so dependent on His loving care. And perhaps He is teaching me to stand, not at the ocean, toes in the sand, but on the concrete… where the feet of so many smiling shining faces run, play, and skip rope each day.
Our hearts are full here, surprisingly full as the friendships we have made have brought more beauty to our lives. We love that we walk out of our apartment in the evenings and neighbors are visiting, playing their music loud, working on their cars, running and playing on the playground, kicking around the soccer ball and looking over the rail of their porch. The kids’ friends run up and invite them to play in shopping carts and go for rides. That sense of community is so rich. This is our home for now, a temporary spot for our family, a place where God has brought so many kids into our lives and our hearts are filled with love for their families. We spend hours with our neighbors outside on the playground, our “backyard”. And we tell them about Jesus.
And when I need to be surrounded by nature, I search the sky for my moon, and I gaze awhile.