We began on a Monday. Under a cool, clear sky, we contemplated an impossibly beautiful, quietly full moon. I wish it hadn’t taken first-grade homework to make me slow down, to stop, to wonder, to receive. I stood still and let the moon’s silky loveliness slip over me. My girls’ happy chatter and shrill exclamations became muted as if underwater. I was overcome with a sense of Oneness.
I realize that this experience is as old as the first people gazing up into the darkness of space. Still, on that night, it seemed like a pearl pulled from a treasure box that I’d been carrying around, unopened, all that time. I had found something, at long last, that it seemed we should all be able to share, something we shouldn’t be able to fight over, or control, or claim ownership over.
Perhaps it was so striking because I had just finished reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist:
“The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.”
I went to sleep that night feeling very close to all of life on earth. Yet early the next morning, the same moon brought an awareness of an acute division.
Some things are revealed in different ways to different individuals, to different families in different communities. We argue about these things, as though We are Right. As though We own the Truth. We might even kill to make the Other see it.
On the way to the bus stop, my girls enthusiastically – can you imagine, my girls being enthusiastic?! – pointed out how the moon looked differently than it had the night before. It still appeared full, but was visible in a different place in the sky. It seemed washed out and chalky compared to its extravagant luminescence the night before. This is how mysterious the moon is: sometimes she is hidden completely, sometimes she unabashedly bares all, sometimes we see just a sliver. She looks different today than she did two weeks before. She looks different to me than she does to the sky gazer in the Southern Hemisphere.
The moon doesn’t cease to exist when I don’t see her, nor does she exist solely in the way I experience her. How silly I would be to aver that the moon’s only True Self is the one I can see.
In the Philadelphia suburbs, it is dark and there is a waning gibbous moon. At this same moment in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the sun shines brightly. These Truths are not mutually exclusive. If we can embrace this, we may no longer be so isolated from one another, nor from ourselves.
Though Germantown considers itself a single community, we are all individuals with our own backgrounds, and therefore any opinions expressed in this blog should be read as the opinions of the author, and not the official position of GMC. We encourage positive discourse, so all comments will be moderated before posting.