Three o’clock in the morning was a ridiculous time to be awake. Frosty thoughts tripped over Rachael’s sleepy mind as she closed the weather app and set her phone down. “Happy New Year,” she frowned shaking her head at the bedside clock flashing <10:00>. “Just great! Who knows when the power will come back on?” She was freezing once again, this time through no fault of her own…her power bill had been paid.
“Enough grumping!” she muttered, hugging her blanket and purring cat closer. Earlier she had donned long underwear, two layers of socks, her thickest pants, a fleece top, and a down vest. She was bundled…not her first winter rodeo.
Three days of storms, blown in on high winds, consumed the valley. It was depressing or beautiful depending on one’s point of view, and the availability of warm shelter. Staccato hail turned to swirling sleet, finally giving way to long quiet hours of great tumbling flakes. But for the present lack of heat, Rachael loved the Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kincaid scenes the storms left behind.
With a heavy sigh she gazed out the bedroom window. Like a giant mellow spotlight, the moonlight’s reflection on the snow illuminated the park behind her apartment. Exquisitely beautiful, the light begged Rachael’s company. “Why not? It’s a balmy twenty-one degrees Fahrenheit,” she announced to Madeleine, her silky gray, six-toed cat. “It’s a glorious night for a walk!” Amidst Madeleine’s protesting meows of being jettisoned from a warm lap, Rachael grabbed her hat, scarf, and gloves, zipped up her down coat, stepped into snow boots, and fairly waltzed out the door. Well, as gracefully as one can waltz in snow boots.
An old wrought iron gate separating her yard from the park stood frozen open just enough to allow access to the pristine winter wonderland. Enthralled with the golden glow shimmering everywhere, Rachael crunched along the path into the park, the noise of her steps muffled by the dense snow. Icy crystal-coated limbs of pines and deciduous trees, and drooping feathered branches of firs, twinkled as though nature had woven lights around every branch and needle. Lower clumps of bushes also glimmered, their shoots long upright fingers holding glistening cottony snowballs.
Memories engulfed Rachael as she stood under the twinkling trees, memories of family when she was young, and more recent sorrowful ones. Kaleidoscopic images flashed through her mind, both comforting and painful in the serene silence, while celestial songs heard not by her ears but by her spirit soothed her wounded heart. Barely breathing she whispered into the ethereal balm, “Thank You.”
The heartbreak of Rachael’s darkest night flooded her once again, and tears coursed down her cold cheeks. “Oh, Michael! I miss you so much! I wish you were here with me now in this beautiful place.” Her husband’s sudden death seven months previous blindsided Rachael in every way. While still grieving the miscarriage of their first child, Rachael received the awful news of the accident…an eighteen-wheeler flipped on the freeway, crushing Michael’s car as it tumbled and flew crashing across two lanes of traffic. The light of her own life nearly snuffed out that night in her overwhelming despair. Not even the stars had shown through her gloom. Often isolated in the icy grip of her grief, Rachael, mercifully, never felt completely alone. Friends and family reached out to her, though she preferred the unobtrusive company of her own thoughts, the undergirding of her faith, and Madeleine.
“I’m still here, Rachael,” a voice whispered in her ear.
“What? LORD? Is that You?” Rachael’s eyes grew wide as she spun around. Her heartbeat sped up, then slowed again as she saw not another soul in the park. She had heard the LORD’s voice before, in the first hours of losing her husband.
“It was Me, Love, in him whom you loved, and I Am still here.”
Rachael stood quietly, the glow of light washing waves of peace over her. Yes, she missed Michael fiercely, his presence, his laughter, his strong arms holding her. Yet as she stood there bereft, the absence of Michael’s tangible love leaving such a great emptiness in her, something more than moonlight began filling and warming her soul. She welcomed the thaw she could discern deep inside, a drenching touch melting her frozen heart.
Lost in thought, Rachael walked towards her apartment. Suddenly, the exterior lights of her building snapped on, flooding the walkway. “Such a metaphor,” she mused. In the freezing power-robbing darkness of her grief, on this power-lost night following the winter’s worst storm, in glowing winter moonlight Love overcame her darkness, unexpectedly illuminating her heart. She walked on knowing as she stepped closer to the light, holding to the One who would never leave her, she would soon be warm again.
Thank You, LORD, that no matter our emotional pain or burdens Your Love remains. Teach us to abide in You so that we may experience this truth and Your presence. When facing the wrenching losses of those we hold dear, those upon whom we depend, those who fill our hearts, remind us that in You we are never left alone. Thank You for Your living written Word and Holy Spirit who ministers to us. Thank You that You are Love, the One who truly fills us and makes us whole. With praise and thanksgiving in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
I John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
John 8:12 ‘Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”’
6 thoughts on “In Glowing Winter Moonlight”
Exquisitely beautiful piece.
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Thank you so much, Robert. Blessings all ways! 💞
lovely, this was meant for me today! This month is Paul’s birthday and his going home to Jesus. My soul is refreased with these words of the Lord. Thank you for reminding me of these truths! Love you, Sharon
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Thank you so much, Sharon. These are the words I heard at a time of great loss. Indeed, the LORD is with us! Love you and praying for you as you miss your beloved Paul. 💞💐🙏
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Sherry, your words painted a beautiful, vivid painting of that walk in the snow!
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Thank you, Rick! 💞