“Sweet dreams,” I said kissing the wisps of blonde hair on my four-year-old’s head. I padded barefoot out of her room, quietly closed the door and leaned against it with a sigh. It had been one long day, week, month…summer. I was in some kind of foggy murk and had been for more than a week. I just wanted to collapse into my bed and, like every other day that week, forget that the day existed.
But my husband was waiting outside with the telescope. So I trudged downstairs.
Actually, it was my idea. Earlier that night I heard the words come out of my mouth, heard my own ask him to set it up, because it was the first clear night we’d had in awhile. They were my words, but sounded so far away and unfamiliar, nearly unrecognizable to the weary soul inside. My husband was kind enough to take heed and trust them. And so I had no choice but to trust them too.
I poured myself a glass of red wine and left the tepid warmth of the kitchen, stepped out on the deck into the night. It was warm, but a soft breeze was stirring the branches. The coolness of it lifted the heat away from the warm wooden planks of the deck floor. Rhythmic chirps of a hundred crickets sent a pulse into the night like a summer heartbeat. My husband, sitting at the telescope, looked up and smiled at me I closed the door.
“You…” He said, grinning, “are going to love this. Come on.”
I sat next to him on the chair he’d pulled over, squinted one eye and pressed the other softly against the lens. A faint blur of golden light streaked upwards, then disappeared.
“I don’t see anything,” I said, lifting my head. “There was some light, but it faded.”
“It moves fast.”
“What? What is it?”
“You’ll know when you see it. Here, let me find it again.” We traded places and he peered in, barely moving the lens around. “Here. Here it is.”
I sat again in the chair, moving slowly as not to bump the telescope out of place. This time when I squinted and looked into the lens, A reddish-orange circle appeared at the bottom corner. I moved my hand up carefully, turning the focus knob to sharpen the image. The circle became redder and clearer, and the outer edge was surrounded by two, rust-colored ghostlike rings, only they were circling the shape vertically instead of horizontally.
I held my breath. It was only in my vision for a half second before it rose to the top of the lens and out of sight. I sat up. My husband was sitting next to me, watching and waiting for my expression. We smiled at each other like we’d just uncovered some kind of ancient secret. We traded and he found it again, and eventually I figured out how to move the telescope so I could follow it myself. We took turns taking half-glimpses of it like little kids peeking through a doorway at Santa Claus. After a short while, it sunk below the trees on the horizon and we could no longer bring it into view. So we sat silent in the soft, late-summer night, thinking about our discovery.
We, ourselves had caught sight of something we’d only heard of since we were young children. We’d seen photographs of it in books, watched documentaries about planets on PBS, but now, with a hundred-dollar telescope we had seen it for ourselves. The events of the night had changed my perspective, and the murk I had been maneuvering through cleared, if only slightly.
In my desire to become my best possible self, to find purpose and Grace and enlightenment, I see Saturn too. I get short, vivid surges of knowing what I am born to do, and it’s so powerful I feel like an unstoppable force moving toward it. There is no question. There is proof. It simply is. For a half-instant, I am all powerful. And then it moves out of my peripheral and I am sent searching through darkness again.
Sometimes, I can’t find it on my own, and I am blessed enough to have people in my life like my loving husband to help me catch sight of it again. And sometimes I find it myself, without even trying. It is there, a constant, even when the murk of life prevents me from seeing it.
The vision of what we are meant to be is Saturn in the telescope. We chance upon the vision sometimes and for a few fleeting moments, what is within us is clear and true. But because we are human, easily distracted and set off course, it moves away from us. We must keep searching, sometimes led only by blind faith in possibility. But it is there… we know it in our hearts, and every time we catch a glimpse of it that knowing becomes just a little stronger.
If we hold a desire in our heart to one day, reach out and touch those lovely rings of light, i.e. live the dream we’ve been dreaming, we must keep searching. We must surround ourselves with the people and things that will help us reach our truest selves. And most importantly,we should never give up believing in things we can’t necessarily see.
They are not only possible, they are certain.
So keep searching. I will if you will.
-Till next time
PS: This song goes with this post beautifully, if you’re inclined to read to music like our group. We like to connect songs to stories, of all kinds. 😉