Thursday, May 18, 2017

Reflections on our year as the "Starry Eyed"

Last year, when MOPS International unveiled our theme: “WE ARE THE STARRY EYED”, I never imagined that so many of us here would be going through our own seasons of darkness. In ways big and small, we’ve had to wrestle with the night.

I want to share an excerpt from Barbara Brown Taylor’s “Learning to Walk in the Dark” as an encouragement to us today: (BBT is an episcopal priest turned professor)

“A few years ago, Ed and I were exploring the dunes on Cumberland Island, one of the barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and the mainland of south Georgia. He was looking for the fossilized teeth of long-dead sharks. I was looking for sand spurs so that I did not step on one. This meant that neither of us was looking very far past our own feet, so the huge loggerhead turtle took us both by surprise.

She was still alive but just barely, her shell hot to the touch from the noonday sun. We both knew what had happened. She had come ashore during the night to lay her eggs, and when she had finished, she had looked around for the brightest horizon to lead her back to the sea. Mistaking the distant lights on the mainland for the sky reflected on the ocean, she went the wrong way. Judging by her tracks, she had dragged herself through the sand until her flippers were buried and she could go no farther.

We found her where she had given up, half cooked by the sun but still able to turn one eye up to look at us when we bent over her. I buried her in cool sand while Ed ran to the ranger station. An hour later she was on her back with tire chains around her front legs, being dragged behind a park service Jeep back toward the ocean. The dunes were so deep that her mouth filled with sand as she went. Her head bent so far underneath her that I feared her neck would break. Finally the Jeep stopped at the edge of the water. Ed and I helped the ranger unchain her and flip her back over. Then all three of us watched as she lay motionless in the surf.

Every wave brought her life back to her, washing the sand from her eyes and making her shell shine again. When a particularly large one broke over her, she lifted her head and tried her back legs. The next wave made her light enough to find a foothold, and she pushed off, back into the water that was her home. Watching her swim slowly away after her nightmare ride through the dunes, I noted that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.”

So if you feel like you’re being dragged through the sand, disoriented, and a bit lost, take heart! This season is not forever. It may be that this darkness is revealing the stars, which are otherwise invisible in the blinding light of day. It may be that the darkness is bringing about something new in your life. As Barbara Brown Taylor writes “Let this sink in: new life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.”

And I want to say how thankful I am for this little community we have here. That we have stepped up to be a light for those in darkness. That we have surrounded our hurting friends, our struggling friends, our lonely friends. That we haven’t shied away from the darkness of others, that we haven’t kept a safe distance, but that we’ve walked alongside our sisters in the best ways we knew how.

I love that this little group makes motherhood less isolating, less lonely. I’ve found comfort in all the ways you’ve said “Me too” when I share my struggles, in knowing I’m not the only one who yells at their kids, or who wakes up angry.

So thank you for another great year of MOPS, thanks for showing up in ways big and small - you’ve brought so much fun and joy and encouragement to me personally!!