We sat around their little white art table. Baby Jonathan held a miniature rubber basketball and gleefully chanted "ball, ball, ball." Lilly drew a picture on pink paper. I marinated in their midst absorbing the innocent presence, embraced by their peace, the warmth of our fellowship. "What are you creating, Lilly?" I asked. On her sheet of pink paper she'd drawn multiple pairs of eyes in black ink--dotted lines spilling from the eyes down the page. "These are Martians. The Martians are crying."
It struck me then that perhaps a four-year-old had unconsciously tapped into the Zeitgeist of our world. Weeping, weeping, weeping for all the tragedies stacked up so high we can barely breathe. If Martians were looking on at our planet they surely would be crying for us.
Earlier in the week, I'd awakened with a prayer in my mind that poured out of my lips. "Teach me how to rejoice, God. Help me learn the art of rejoicing." Where did this prayer come from? This was the polar opposite of what I should be feeling, what I should be expressing. All this racial unrest, all this killing and pain--the confusion and uncertainty--the trauma and blood. Could there be a place for rejoicing?
As I pondered this question I remembered a time when I'd serendipitously bought a package of glow-in-the-dark stars at the Dollar General. I didn't know what I'd do with them. I tucked them in my purse where they lay forgotten. Then one day, alone in my office suite, the stars fell out of my purse as I was about to go home. But instead of leaving, I climbed up on my desk and affixed the stars to the ceiling. When I turned the lights out, I looked up and the stars glimmered there in the darkness.
The glowing stars became a sort of symbol for me-- a reminder to look up--to turn toward the light. I think those stars are still there, although I no longer occupy that office space.
And God is still there, even in these tragic times, offering us answers inside His mystery, His grace, His love, His creativity, beckoning us to look up and abide in His light. Perhaps we actively practice the art of rejoicing when we run toward that light, believing in and appreciating His presence--like sitting around the little white art table. And when we turn away from His healing light, perhaps He weeps along with the Martians.