“Mama!” he cried. “Why, oh, why is the night so dark?”
Mama snuggled close, and then said, “So the stars can shine their twinkling light. That’s why the night is, oh, so dark. Now it’s sleepy time, little duckling.”
Then Little Quack shut his eyes…and went to sleep.
– Little Quack’s Bedtime by Lauren Thompson
Amelia picked this book for bedtime last night, and although I’ve read it dozens of times, its closing pages resonated with me in new ways. Darkness in our lives often closes in when we least expect it, but it carries with it a new perspective. The stars are there all the time, but we only see them when night falls. And when we do, they mesmerize us, leaving us in awe and reminding us of the tremendous expanse of the universe in which we get to make our own marks. It reminds us that we are all connected, that we all sleep under the same canopy of twinkling lights.
Exactly eleven months ago, we found ourselves unexpectedly in Room 8 of the NICU we would live in for weeks to come. It was without question the darkest time in our lives, full of fear and a deep, deep sadness that seemed to cover everything in our world. I remember those days and the darkness that pervaded them so vividly. I never knew that kind of fear and helplessness. But I also remember the stars…the beacons of light and love that shone from all around us…our family, our friends, our community, and our church. They had been there all along, but I had never experienced the depth of that love until I had truly been in the depths of despair. And like the stars in the sky, it left me in awe. It still does.
And here is what I’ve learned: darkness is inevitable and often terrifying, but it is also a lens from which we can witness the glory of the heavens. We could not see the stars if the sun were always shining. And so I hope that I can allow it to enter into my life when those moments come (and they always do). Because it is a gift in its own way…one that stretches our hearts open wider and lets the twinkling light of love shine through. Because it reminds us of He who created the heavens and the earth.