Do you long for healing? I’d venture a guess that this desire is universal in nature, but diverse in scope. What do I mean? Healing can span a rather large spectrum from physical, emotional, communal, and spiritual. Therefore, we all desire healing, but we must clarify what the healing is that we desire… or need.
These past two weeks, I have been ministering to parishioners who long for healing. Whether it be the parishioner who was the victim of a horrid automobile accident, the parishioner whose heart was broken from the rejection of another, or the ongoing healing our world needs “post-Covid,” my ministry has been fruitful, powerful, and intense these past weeks. It is what I have come to understand as “good tired” when doing God’s work.
There is always a problem, however, during these times of intensity: Remaining attentive to the healing I need. This past week, I was extremely exhausted come Wednesday night. The skies were clear and I thought, “If is wasn’t for the drain I feel, I would be out shooting Andromeda right now.” Andromeda is positioned nicely in the Northern Hemisphere these days. From my backyard, our galactic neighbor is framed nicely between two trees.
Just when I thought I was going to pass up a clear night to get some extra sleep, the desire kicked in – “Get out there and take a few exposures.” So, I mounted my camera and took 10, 1 second exposures at 300mm. Stacked the images and got a nice black and white image of Andromeda.
The surprising success of the image from my Bortle Class 5 sky inspired me to do a backyard sequence the next evening. I set up my tracker, focused, and took 250 – 15 second exposures. Of those 250 images, 120 were quality images. Here’s the fruit of my labor.
I am very proud of this image of Andromeda. I could go on about fighting through exhaustion to capitalize on a clear night. However, this image was not the greatest gift of the evening. The greatest gift was the time I had to sit in wonder while the 250 images were snapping away to pray for healing for my parishioners. I was able to enjoy the stillness of the night and ask God to give me rest and healing from a heavy week of ministry. As I’ve shared with you in past reflections, this year is emerging as less of an exploration of “faith vs. science” in my writing, but as a call to connect with God through the beauty of creation. And these past few nights, the skies have brought much healing!
Spiritual Exercise: What is the healing you need? Have you prayed for that healing? What needs to happen in order for God to work that healing in your life? Pray with these questions this week. Who knows – maybe God will give you peace and healing through enjoying a clear night sky too!
(After a night of sleep and a quick read of some editing guidelines, I decided to do a quick re-edit this morning. Glad I did!)