Very early the next morning, David prodded me awake. "Come on! Let's go! Let's walk around the upper deck and start this beautiful day!" Now when I am at home, I rise early and take my morning walk, and quite honestly I'd sort of planned to sleep in a bit on the cruise. So much for sleeping in! I got up, donned my walking shoes and we made our way to the upper deck.
Surprise!! It was still dark. Even the SUN wasn't up yet! As we made our first round, I saw maybe 10 people, and 9 of them were crew! I was seriously ready to grumble.
Toward the rear of the ship, the lights were dim. We were so far out at sea that there was no land in sight in any direction. David and I stopped our walk to watch the wake our ship was making: a frothy trail that seemed to glow in the dark water. Cupping my hands around my face, I blocked out as much of the artificial light as I could. It took my eyes a moment to adjust to the darkness, and then I began to see them: stars, thousands of them, dusting far above us. We picked out Orion's belt, the Big Dipper, and located Jupiter. The longer that we watched, it seemed that more and more stars became visible in the velvety blackness. Twinkling, sparkling, multi-colored "diamonds in the sky" -- more than I think I've ever been able to see before. For several minutes, we were totally absorbed in the infinite majesty that is always just above our heads!
My grumbles evaporated -- if I'd stayed in bed, I would have missed the stardust of the morning! Our day was off to a glorious beginning!
*** *** *** *** ***
Fast forward several hours to the late evening...
We stood again at that same rail, watching the sea churning behind us. Overhead the full moon shown like a spotlight. The occasional whitecap splashed into view, reflecting in the moonlight. A few clouds floated in the night sky, obscuring many of the stars. Once in a while, the moon would duck behind a cloud, leaving us surrounded in the shadows. Yet, even shrouded by a cloud, the moon still glowed and we knew it would come back out eventually, returning like an old friend.
The day had been fun and exciting. None of the "regular hum-drum" routine crossed my mind. (Not that there IS much "hum-drum routine" in my life these days!) It had begun with stardust, and ended with moonshadows. How special this day has been, I thought.
And then it hit me. Every day we live is special. The routine days are just as special as the exciting ones. The days we feel great joy and happiness, and the days we feel deep sorrow, hurt and rejection. The days we mark with big red circles of eager anticipation on our calendars, and the days we put a big X-mark over because we're relieved they've passed. Easy days that flit quickly by and difficult days that seem to drag on well beyond their allotted 24 hours.
Even when we don't actually see them, each day begins with stardust and ends with moonshadows. That alone makes them special!