On Gazing at the Sky: Excerpt from My Journal

 

Do you ever look at the sky and feel like you're in a doll house? Why is it that every time I ask someone this question they never know what I'm talking about? Sometimes, I lean my head back and I find myself in awe of the vast and ongoing repetitious river where it seems no matter how wide you stretch out your arms, you'll never be able to hug even a fraction of its existence. You just have to lay back in the grass and try to drink as much as you can, as though your limbs were lines on a graph, never ending and angled in a such a way that maybe if you imagined your arms and legs stretching to infinity, somewhere along the way your body will cross with the sky and you'll know something of its grandness.
I try to imagine God up there hovering above it all: above clouds and airplanes and birds, above the stars and the planets, above space. Where does space end and heaven begin? I remember once when I was small – maybe five or six – I went to this place called the Sunshine House after school. These were back in the days where the brown, mucky, decrepit barn just on the other side of the fence was haunted and the evil Candy Man lived under the porch at the back of the house. I was in a sandbox, the weather may have been nice, or it could've been a breezy day with rain clouds in the sky. I don't remember which. But I remember sitting on my knees, my legs spread apart underneath my butt as though I was holding in pee, helping a handful of other kids dig to the bottom of the sandbox, then the bottom of the Earth, then to Hell.
“When the dirt gets red, that's how you'll know,” a girl I knew as London with long, sandy blond hair, said.
I dug and dug and dug. I wanted to see the red dirt, and when spots of moist mauve appeared in the deep crater we'd shoveled out with our sandy hands, I felt excitement and anticipation bubble and seethe in my belly. I was so quick to advocate London's knowledge, believe that she knew red dirt belonged in hell, meant hell.
It's a frightening thought now, to think of myself as wanting to dig myself in such a rut as to come face to face with Satan, which is a funny realization now that I've gotten older and understand things better, learned things about myself. That afternoon in the sandbox wouldn't be the only time I dug myself in a rut (and I mean a real rut, we nearly dug all the sand out of the wooden slabs surrounding the mound, and then some). I think of all the times I've worried over things, not able to let them go. It's like the man rock climbing, getting stuck along the wall at night, not knowing if he's two feet from the ground or two hundred feet. It's getting cold and God tells him to let go, but he can't, he's too afraid, too worried. The next morning he's found frozen to his rope against the wall, just a foot fall from land. But also, in my worry, not only am I not able to let go, I feel as though I need the worry to feed some sort of purpose. I need to find something in the worry, just keep digging and digging for whatever's missing, and thinking I can find it in the deepest pit of my infestation. I'm only digging myself a hole that will lead me to Satan; he's feeding this worry, wanting me to scrape farther and farther into his lair, so I'll fall in – like Alice through the looking glass.
But when I look at that sky, that expanse of coverage and never ending mural of time, day and night, how tomorrow is just a progressive transition of color - mango, lavender, scarlet – I don't want to be anywhere else. I don't want to be digging myself into any pits or worrying myself to death. I just want to stare and enjoy how my mind is like the clearest, freshest stream, where just the understanding of God is enough, and I'm not tangled up in the frustration of lacking others' understanding. Because that's all I want sometimes – is to be understood. Understood without judgment, condescension, criticism. Understood with an open mind, an unbiased perspective.

 

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