I took the road less traveled tonight, opting for an old, country road that leads away from town in stead of the highway that connects one village and city to the next. You know the sort of road I’m talking about – you can easily conjure it up in your mind, even if you haven’t journeyed its path. It’s the road where the footprints of history echo in its turns. It’s a lonely road, forgotten by all but a few, abandoned in deference to newer, straighter roads. It’s the road that cuts through pastures that feed and fields that birth new crops. It’s the road where whispers become melody.
I followed the song hummed by the road, an enticing lullaby that lured me toward the dark horizon. Around a curve the moon lit up the sky as if to say “peek-a-boo!” There I stopped and got out of the car to stand beneath a star-filled sky, to smell the crisp night airs, and to wave at the moon.
“Moon, will you come down and dance with me?”
Quoting my favorite line from a treasured childhood book, I felt my soul be graced by the innocence of simplicity. I stretched my arms wide, as far as they would reach, and with my head back in a gesture of surrender, I turned circles on the pavement. Gratitude swelled inside my body.
I love wide open spaces. They make me feel incredibly small. It’s a strange dichotomy, though, how feeling so small and insignificant can be so wonderful. I am nothing in this great universe but a speck of flesh and blood, bones and breath. My cries are unheard and my thoughts are absorbed, carried away by the wind, and diffused into an empty nothingness.
And yet, I am here. The simple fact that I am here is a profound statement of significance. To think that the creator of heaven and earth and all that exists in space and beyond also created me and set me here to be a part of this great symphony of creation is truly profound and unimaginable. The wonder of it all is more than this mortal body can contain and so it moves spontaneously, triggered by the breath of the holy.
I am tiny; but so is the moon, and so are the cattle that slumber on the hill; so too is each blade of grass, each solitary tree, each cricket, and every foot that trod this road before me.
In wide open spaces I am stripped of my human identity and the awareness of absolute connection to the whole of divine creation opens up to me. In wide open spaces I soar. In wide open spaces I leave the circumstances of human invention and know that I matter.
I am loved.
Being in love in this way so surpasses the pain of living.
Being in touch with how small I am allows me to know just how connected I am with something Great. Knowing this turns my very breath into thanksgiving. Wide open spaces take me into them and cradle me with tenderness, liberty, and love.
I am lonely and lost in my days of living in social order. I am displaced, confused, even devastated. But in wide open spaces I am shielded from the pain of lost love and toxic words.
Oh, gratitude slips over my lips.
In wide open spaces I can safely surrender to the buoyancy of the One who created me and know that for all of eternity, I am loved.
In wide open spaces I am in the presence of the Holy. And here in this communion, I am reminded that what really doesn’t matter is the fact that somewhere in my social order my true beauty goes unnoticed.
I took the road less traveled because I followed the invitation calling to me in the whispers of the night. And there, on that old, forgotten country road, I danced with the moon.