It is three am and you woke me up.
I looked out the window at the silver blue light cascading and spilling out all over the snow covered hills and flowing into every nook and cranny of the valley and I thank Him for the gift.
She even left a few stars out for me.
And I listen quietly to the sound of her light streaming into the night and making things glow–because there is a sound–like snow falling, only quieter–and I want to hear it.
I guess it’s more like a silent song.
And I listen to the music while tears flow down my cheeks and I thank Heavenly Father for the moon–for the chance to say one more goodnight over my daughter’s final resting place–and I guess mine, too.
For here in this valley, I have found rest for my aching heart, my grief-bound soul, my exhausted, pushed to the limit body.
The moonlight washes over my soul and her song heals my hurts.
And the moon is not so bright in Other Places, but Here, in this Valley, the moonlight cradles us and cradles my daughter’s memory and sings her song every night as she climbs the starry sky and looks down protectively over this place. And I, for a moment, in agony at the thought of leaving, think to myself:
Why are my dearest friends in the world here and why must I go? I don’t want to leave.
Why am I leaving the place where Joy still seems to live in every moonlit night and summer day, and winter snow and autumn rain?
Why is it that He sent me to this place to have me die?
When Joy died, I buried part of me in this valley.
When I almost died, I buried part of me in the Savior’s loving embrace.
Perhaps He has given me a gift, to have a physical place to come and die when I need to be born again.
Because He sent me here to live again.
And I live, I endure, I push forward, I keep going. The blue light of the moon outlines the Tetons and they whisper in their deep rumble that they will watch over Joy’s grave, that I have nothing to fear, for They are my Friends.
The stars wink down and say they will always be there, even when I can’t see them.
The trees, their branches looking lonely and forlorn in the late winter night whisper that they will live. That I must live.
That they will always be here and they will remember me, but that I must go.
I must live.
I look at the moon and realize that I have been brought back from the dead, I must go and share with the world this beauty I have found.
Somehow, I must bring the moonlight and starlight and love and the Tetons to others, because not everyone has been given the gift of living next door to heaven.
But everyone needs to be born again.
Over and over. Until there is nothing left to take away. And to be born again and again–part of us must die again and again.
And it hurts.
And it is easier when the Tetons and the moon and the stars can help to bind the wounds and soothe the pain.
It is easier when the angels who live here, the people who have come to be so dear to me, are always there to give and give and comfort and sustain and love the pain away with their compassion and their ability to minister as Christ.
Because they have the starry nights and the creeks in the spring and the sand cranes and the tall grass in the wind–they have it in them, and they give it freely to those who need it.
Is it part of me now? Can I take it with me and share it with others as they have done to me?
Go thou, and do likewise.
I am looking at the moon and hoping that somehow, it is in me. That somehow, this valley, this place, the blood of the river as it flows through, the marrow of the mountains–I pray that some of it found its way in me, and that I will be able to share it.
When my little Daniel was brand new, the summer was waning and we were getting ready to come back to this place. I had wondered if we were really, truly going to be able to come back. I was softly singing to him, but as soon as the words left my mouth, it felt like Joy was singing–calling us from the valley:
Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the flow’rs are dying
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
‘Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh, Danny boy, oh, Danny boy, I love you so.
And if you come, and all the flowers are dying
If I am dead, as dead I well may be
I pray you’ll find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.
And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me
And all my grave will warm and sweeter be
And then you’ll kneel and whisper that you love me
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.
And I knew then, but I did not want to know–that she was telling me that she will be here, and we can come visit, but then we must go. The pipes are calling and we must go.
And I say a prayer and call on Heaven to look over me, and plead with my Father that I may be able to be as good at ministering as the valley and its people have been to me. And I beg Him to let me come back when summer’s in the meadow…and I pray that if all else fails, this valley will remain as my constant.
Goodnight, moon. Watch over her until I can come back to her. Goodnight, valley. Be here. Be here for every weary traveler that comes this way, and I promise I will take part of you with me. Goodnight, Father.
Thank you for letting me die and be born again in this place.
Help me to live again no matter where the pipes are calling….