One of the most remarkable memories of my life was sleeping under the stars in the Masaii Mara in Kenya while I was on safari. I'd been in Kenya three months by then and my time was coming to a close. I was beyond homesick and consoled myself with the thought that in not many more weeks, I'd finally be sleeping under the same stars as those I love. And it was a comfort, because at the beginning of my trip, I would look at the stars and think of my friends and family. I would think of them when I saw the stars because I told myself that when it finally became night where they were, they'd be sleeping under the same stars. Only I realized they weren't. I had gone so far from home that I was sleeping under a whole new set of stars. That's a long way to go...
I've always loved stars because they've allowed me to dream--to look up into a starry sky is to know that you are but a speck in an infinite universe. To see the stars has always been for me a representation of God-- huge, and un-quantifyable. And the stars have always reminded me to hope because I've always thought of them as tiny lightbulbs in a very black sky. Besides that, there's a lot to be said that you have to be in the dark to be graced with the opportunity to see them. There's something theological about that I think.
When I moved here almost four years ago, I started on my second quilt. I designed the pattern and I collected blue fabric wherever I went. And tonight, I will snuggle next to my love, listening to snoring dogs beside us, and we will sleep under the stars. And I will dream, and imagine, and hope--beautifully, largely, gently.
It's just a quilt. It's just pieces of fabric. But it's more than that. It's a travel diary. It's home. It's love. It's a thin place where the earth and heaven get all tangled up. A place where God whispers, "You can't count them all. But there is not a single one that's there without my knowledge."
Me thinks I will sleep well tonight, my loves and me, under these stars.
"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.