Daily Grat: Stars in the Water

It’s only minutes into today, and I am already certain of my daily gratitude. I can’t imagine this one will get eclipsed by anything else that can happen today.

This is our last night at the lake. Sometime tomorrow (er, later today) we’ll head back to town.

Because it is our last night, I realized it was the last night to really get out and look up at the stars with the girls. The sliver of a moon set pretty early tonight. It’s clear and cold…a few wisps of clouds. But the lake is like glass and except for a howling dog here and there, it’s wonderfully quiet.

So, I knew that I needed to get the girls (Caroline and Maria) out to see the stars. But, of course, I didn’t think of it until after they were in bed, hair wet from their showers.

I made them get up anyway.

This is either really good, or really bad, parenting; depending upon your point of view.

We bundled up and headed down to the dock to look up at the stars. As I said, it’s wonderfully quiet right now, and the lake is *amazingly* still…like glass….like….well it’s really not like anything else.

Anyway, we spent a lot of time looking up at the huge swath of stars across the sky. The two city girls were dutifully impressed (although Maria’s seen our lake stars many times before…)

And then, just before we turned to go in, we looked down at that shimmering water again. And Maria said, “Look: you can see the stars in the water…”

And, sure enough, you could. Not nearly as many as in the sky, of course. But especially in the deep dark of the waters just off the dock –about the first 100 feet off shore– you could definitely make out the unmistable twinkling of starlight.

And my immediate thought was: How have I never seen this before? Have I seen it and just forgotten? Surely I’ve been somewhere else, or more likely even here, and noticed this incredible sight…but maybe not…

Could it be that I’ve really lived almost five decades and only now noticed this?

Brought them back up to bed; and then immediately head back down to the dock, to sit on the bench and gaze up at the stars some more. Saw at least one impressive shooting star. Then, I looked back down at the stars in the water some more.

At different points in my life, it was very very common for me to do this same thing…to sit out in the middle of the night and look up at stars. When I lived in Mason, I’d drive three or four miles out of town (in any direction) and just lay down in the bed of my pickup and watch for an hour. I’d see *dozens* of falling stars each night….just by gazing carefully for that length of time.

Of course, the city ruins all of this. So deep is the jealousy of city lights that they vainly block the view of the real show. They know they can’t compete; and so all they can do is destroy. And they that do exceedingly well.

So nights like tonight are a treat. I’ve come up from the dock now, but I’m still sitting on the porch, tapping this out on a laptop, soaking in every single last moment of stillness.

For a billion stars above…
For stars twinkling in the still dark waters…
And for the eyes to see them…
I am thankful.

(During this year, my goal is to find something new to be thankful for every single day, and to add that thanksgiving as a blog entry, under the title “My Daily Gratitude.” I started this kick back around Thanksgiving, and it’s already resulted in a favorite new song of mine. The goal of this ongoing spiritual exercise is to see if doing such a thing might inspire even more gratitude within me, and to foster general awareness of life on a deeper level.)

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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