“Why does the moon appear to be following us?” my eleven-year-old asked as we drove across the bridge stretched over the lake. I glanced over at the moon. The calm, blue lake water magnified the beauty of the luminous sphere hovering above it. And as soon as we reached the other side of the bridge where trees lined the road, the moon seemed to travel alongside our minivan, peaking through the trees as our very own personal escort.
My eleven-year-old joyfully recollected, “When I was little, I thought the sun followed me around everywhere!” Then her tone sobered and grew somber as she continued, “I used to think I was special.”
My heart sank, but I pounced on this golden opportunity to connect with my daughter and let her know that I remember believing that the sun followed me around too when I had been a little girl, which made me feel special as well. But while the delight of childhood innocence, wonder, and significance flooded my senses, I was convicted by the notion that for both us, feeling special was a thing of the past, a fleeting thought. We didn’t say, “That’s when I knew I’m special.” For some reason, the bliss of being special seemed to belong in our pasts.
As I grieved how being special had been banished to our pasts, I quickly reminded my daughter that she is special and that the sun and the moon will forever follow her around to remind her that she is — even right now in the present.
But I was troubled. When, in her eleven years, did she stop believing she was special? When did I stop believing I was special? At what age or stage in life do we stop watching the sun and moon follow us? When does the notion of being special become abandoned to childhood memories? And for those of us who thought we were special, what do we think we are now? I was sorrowful that my daughter relegated being special to the imagination of her much younger self.
In reality, we know that the sun and moon are not actually following us around. Due to our field of vision, objects, like the sun and the moon, which are extremely far away are visible for a longer period of time than objects much closer to us, like trees, houses, and bridges. As we move, or in my case, speed along, trees quickly disappear from our range of vision while the sun, which is about ninety-three million miles away, remains visible. Therefore, no matter how fast we drive, as long as the sun is in our field of vision, it will appear to be following us. What a magnificent illusion!
That quick glance at the moon with my daughter prompted the “bliss of being special” to echo within me. In that moment, I realized we all need to pause to resurrect childlike wonder, to indulge in the significance of having the sun and moon as companions, and to hold onto the bliss of believing we are special.
I don’t know when it becomes normal to stop believing we are special. Perhaps it’s when our faculty of imagination is crowded out by prescribed facts and figures in school. Perhaps it’s when we experience perpetual disappointment, drama, or trauma. Perhaps it’s when life requires us to solely focus on survival, so we fuse our identities with established groups who narrate our paths.
But regardless of our current conventions, I believe we need to regularly pause to embrace the notion that we are uniquely crafted. We need to create moments to recall that each of us is a masterpiece, made by God, worthy of the sun’s adoration. We need to be still and know that each of us is a gift to the planet, worthy of the moon’s admiration.
When I feel oppressed by the daily demands of conventional life — chauffeuring my children, wife-ing, teaching, planning, self-caring, surviving the traffic on I77 — I need to pause to allow myself to simply look at the trees. My gaze begins where the trunk meets the ground. There, I am reminded of the strength of the root work. Then my gaze follows the trunk upward to the branches extending up and out. There, I am reminded that strong root work defies gravity and reaches toward the heavens. I breathe it all in. And in my exhale, I am invigorated.
And now, when I am whisking along, moving from home to school to volleyball practice, basketball tournaments, dance recitals, and the grocery story — when taking a reflective pause would actually cause chaos — I glance over at the sun or moon to acknowledge that they are providing me a V.I.P escort. As I hasten from place to place, I will allow this magnificent optical illusion to remind me that I am, indeed, special, right now in the present. I allow my childhood bliss of being special to return to abide with me in the present.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
Each of us can get drowned out by life’s conventions. What will you do to remember to live in the truth that you are a created, purpose-filled masterpiece?
We need to create moments to recall that each of us is a masterpiece, made by God. -Lucretia Berry (@brownicity): Click To Tweet