Did you spend some time this weekend standing in your yard staring at the sky? Several of us did. The annual Perseid Meteor Shower hit its peak performance during late Sunday night and early Monday morning. My father read an article from a local news station on Sunday evening that said the best time to see the most meteors would be Monday morning just before dawn. Supposedly you would be able to see roughly 150 meteors per hour at that time, which is around one every 20-30 seconds. Whether you are a kid or an adult, that’s pretty cool!
Well, as a homeschool family, you look for unique opportunities for hands-on education, and this was a prime example. My wife and I decided to get up at 4:00 AM, go outside to see if the clouds and fog were clear, then wake the kids to come out and join us. The kids were really excited, and it was a good reason to get them to bed early. It was one of those nights where I woke up about every 30-45 minutes because I didn’t want to oversleep. 4:00 AM came, and my wife and I headed to the back deck. We were excited to see that even though there was some low fog, the sky was perfectly clear! The air had a cool crispness to it, but it was warm enough to sit outside comfortably. It was the perfect night.
Before waking the kids, we wanted to see a few shooting stars ourselves. We sat there for about ten minutes. After getting a little annoyed, we finally saw one. It was really neat. However, another ten minutes came and went without so much as a small one. Needless to say, we were disappointed. We decided not to wake the kids, and we just went back to bed. I got up a few hours later to get ready for work with major bags under my eyes, only to find out that my wife never went back to sleep. We both grumbled around and talked about how disappointing the whole ordeal was. We missed on a great opportunity to have a science lesson with the kids, and the kids were upset that we didn’t come get them up.
Then I got a text message on Monday morning while at work. It was from my mom who lives only a couple hundred yards from us. She absolutely loves these kinds of things, so I wasn’t surprised to find out that she literally sat outside from 11:00 PM on Sunday night until the sun rose on Monday morning. She turned off all the outside lights and covered all the automatic lights with blankets so that there was nothing but the stars. She had set up her camera to take pictures every few seconds for an hour, hoping to get lucky and catch the perfect shot. Then she sat for hours by herself watching the sky and listening to the night sounds.
That didn’t surprise me, but something she said did, and it made me somewhat ashamed of myself. She said that she did see a few shooting stars, but nowhere near as many as everyone had said, and she didn’t get a once-in-a-lifetime picture. However, instead of having the grumbling attitude and frustration that I had, she was still excited. She said it was amazing how great of a God we have. She got to watch the stars all night, as well as several planets that were visible. She got to enjoy the coolness of a summer evening while listening to the crickets and bullfrogs. She then got to watch a beautiful sunrise. She said even though we didn’t get the meteor shower we had hoped for, it got a lot of people outside looking at God’s creation, and that can’t be beaten.
What an amazing attitude. How often do we miss the forest because of the trees? How often do we get so focused on accomplishing one small task that we miss the joy of the process it takes to make it happen? How often do we overlook what we consider the small things in life to zero in on what we think is important, only to find out that we had it completely backward? Let’s all remember to step back sometimes in life and reacclimate ourselves to our surroundings. Worship the Lord with passion, and forget about whether or not the song was sung too fast or slow. Enjoy the board game with your children and quit stressing that they are making up their own rules. Enjoy a cool night looking at God’s beautiful creation and stop fretting that you haven’t seen a shooting star.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)