Polaris

04h00 in the middle of a bout of loadshedding in South Africa.

Life imitates a Victorian era adjective for the continent: darkest Africa. No lights on in the neighbourhood except for an oasis or two of illumination powered by a battery.

Not another soul in sight. Just the distant whoosh of traffic on the highway and a pair of startled kiewiets.

Dangerous? I have a dog and I know how to use it. And besides, perhaps I needn’t worry as God is aware of my location data:

“even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.”
(Psalm 139:12, NIV)

Great conditions for stargazing. I haven’t memorised the constellations but I can pick out Orion’s belt, and the Southern Cross.

Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri line up, and if you had to draw an imaginary line from Alpha through Beta your line would intersect with the apex of the Southern Cross.

A reminder of divine grace in the heavens. Not as garish as a neon sign. Subtle, but there if you stop for a few seconds and look for it.

People a lot smarter than me have figured out that human beings can discern their location on Earth in relation to the stars in the sky.

The stars are not divine, but it does make me think how orienting myself to them is a picture of a soul orienting itself to God, especially as it relates to the northern star, also known as Polaris.

I never noticed Polaris whenever I have sojourned in the northern hemisphere. But from what I read, the ‘position of the star lies less than a degree away from the north celestial pole’.

Because of its position in the night sky its variation is only very slight, making it very dependable for navigation.

Again, it makes me think of God, constant:

Seeing God in the night sky should lead to an examination, a discovery of Him in the Scriptures, just like the logical trajectory of Psalm 19. Which is just what I got into that morning by candle and torch light.

And it happened to be the north star for my chaotic week.

The bird that wasn’t quite

Ten minutes to clean the car. Evidence left behind of a bird that almost was. A bird that wasn’t, or more accurately, wasn’t quite.

I can think of oodles of good things that were safely enclosed in an egg shell, but they shell was thrust onto the unforgiving ground by a cruel wind with the assistance of gravity.

Vacations and outings planned but never taken.

Clever and useful things meant to be said but swallowed by our tongues in the moment.

Jobs applied for that would have meant the world to our family, but were denied.

I can speculate about bad things that never came to completion, and in God’s goodness I never knew.

A relationship that would have ended like the Hindenberg.

A grievous sin that was never conceived.

A fatal vehicle accident that never happened because milkshakes were spilled and cleanup had to be done.

Things that didn’t happen, things that weren’t quite, things that were out of my control.

And then the things in my control. Choices that I made, wrong ones.

Cruel things said that cannot be unsaid.

Jokes that fell flat because they were in poor taste.

Supposed to have gone down the middle when all I saw was left and right.

Its a mixed bag, some good decisions, some really bad. But I never regretted becoming a Christian or marrying my spouse.

I’m in a unique position to know the choices I have made and the context in which I’ve made them. I’m a fumbling clown like Baldrick (from Black Adder) but you couldn’t tell that from looking at me.

Making our own choices is a sacred thing. God given. Its a sacred thing that is messy and occasionally disastrous.

I don’t like the way the world is going. People in authority making choices for others. The sacred right of making a choice dashed to the ground like an egg.

A choice never made, like a bird that wasn’t quite.

I think of that idiom: you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

I don’t trust anyone else to make an omelette out of my broken eggs, not me, not anyone else in authority who think they know what’s best.

I trust God. He takes broken eggs and makes good omelettes.