I walked out of the ancient Abbey, stone building of pink granite, place of holy ministry and destination for thousands of Christians, singing with the hundred or so of us who had gathered there for 9 pm daily worship. As we left the dim, candlelit space and entered into the world, a blanket of stars welcomed us! Delighted to see them, those which had been previously shrouded by clouds, I stood and let the other people pass, humming and swaying happily, soaking in the simultaneously dark and bright starry night before me. They were so close it seemed I should be able to reach up from the hill beyond the field with the sheep and touch them.
Eventually, I tore myself away from the magnificence and made my way into St. Orin’s chapel, a small, similarly old but very simple chapel next to the Abbey. I knew from our group’s short stop there earlier in the day that if one stood in the middle of the space and sang, the acoustics magically turned one’s voice into an angel’s. I lit candles and sat in the middle and sang, alone in the dark, the songs I had learned that week, my favorite hymns, and the songs of my childhood, my voice transformed into that of incredible beauty.
I made my way back into the dark night. A faint glow behind the Abbey made me think – is there possibly a moon over there? A few yards walking north confirmed there was, indeed, an orange 2/3-full misshapen moon and its companion clouds filling the landscape with light and grace. I walked back to a bench outside of St. Orin’s chapel and pondered the stars again. A bright shooting star grazed across the skyscape, delighting me once more. The cows nearby lowed. What I think was a sheep snorted. And I was struck by the total perfection of these moments, the joy of my soul and of my whole being, every cell filled with moonlight and starlight and love.
What can I do for you, I asked the stars and sky and moon, the ancient stone, the Presence all around?
Live joyfully and share that joy with others. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it in service of that Love and Joy.
And then I walked home to my pod by the dark of the night and the light of the moon and stars, in awe of the abundance in this place, in these moments, and in my life.