The Full Wolf Moon of January (also known as the Old Moon or the Moon After the Yule) brightened the late evening and early morning skies of my area. A few areas of snow reflected the light back from the surface, creating a very peaceful scene in the stillness. Patches of ice along the roads and driveways added shimmering fringes to nature’s latest work of art. Contemplating the sight before me, I thought about how what appears to be on the surface can vary greatly from what lies beneath.
Facades of Life
So many times in life, we only see the surface of an object or a situation. For example, the weather and road conditions appeared to be good for running the other day. However, shortly into my run I realized this was not the case, for the amount of icy patches far outnumbered the clear sections of my running route. I slowed my pace and ended up doing more of a trot than a run before having to turn around and go back home.
Though I was disappointed in not being able to go about my normal routine, I did feel a sense of accomplishment in recognizing the conditions and in trying to make the best of the situation (I cleaned the entire house instead of finishing my run and trying to bike). I really wanted to run to help deal with emotions felt after learning someone with whom I had been close to in my younger years had passed away earlier in the day. On the surface, I appeared my normal self, but internally, the scene was not so great.
Since running is my answer to all life issues, my natural reaction was to just go. In my haste to deal with my emotions, I failed to thoroughly examine my surroundings. While I believe my reaction was natural, I also think my experience was a valuable lesson in the facades of life.
Behind the Scenes
As we go about our daily routines, we encounter many different situations. Our interactions and relationships with others often play a part in:
- What we see
- How we view situations
- Who we go to for advice
- When we notice certain details
- Where we turn when given choices upon the journey
- Why we react or respond the way we do to what we see
What we see is the stimulus that often stirs the mind and body to action. Sometimes we see beauty before us, as in the sunrise or sunset. Other times we see the ugliness of destruction, as in storms or acts of violence. Our experiences allow us over time to learn how to respond. These experiences also give us perspective and wisdom to use for the future.
When we have trouble deciding how to respond or view life before us, we often seek guidance. Sometimes we choose to speak to a relative or close friend. Other times we may seek out a teacher, coach, or neighbor. Sometimes the only person who can really help is God, but human nature and society create the misconception that turning to Him means we are weak, unable, inept, or some other adjective that is really not true.
The truth is God wants us to turn to Him first. Fortunately for us, He also understands why we may seek the help of others instead, and so He often sends people to us. When God sends someone to work in His behalf, we may not recognize it. We see the person standing before us as our helper, but behind the scenes, God is at work, creating the story of each of our lives. In doing so, He masterfully positions the characters, events, and outcomes.
God uses the details of the story to catch our attention, often through rather unorthodox and unique methods. He disguises blessings in mistakes, minute objects, and many other undercover vehicles. Often, God and nature work together to set the scene leading to our enlightenment and understanding.
They use situations that force us to make choices, which in turn allow us to learn, grow, and respond better in the future.
Core of Character
What we see also plays a part in forming character. We go about life doing many things. Our actions often create reactions, which can be good or bad. As we learn the difference between how to create good or bad reactions, we form character. As time goes on, we also learn to recognize opportunities for building character. Sometimes, we may not feel like going through this exercise, or may be reluctant to try for reasons we may feel are valid.
Once again, God and nature have a way of making us do things their way. Days when things start off badly and grow worse are typically God and nature’s means of making us build character. For example, if the alarm did not go off, the dog chewed your slippers while you were sleeping, and you wake up to gray, rainy skies, God is saying, “Good morning! Welcome to Building Character 101. Today we are going to learn how to view blessings in disguise.”
Our natural response is often, “I really don’t want to do this. Can I be excused for the day?”
God gently and calmly replies, “No, we need to do this today. Now let’s get started…”
We reluctantly get dressed, deal with waking up late, address the slipper issue with the dog, and pack the umbrella as we head out the door. We may mumble a bit as we go, but the important part is we are up and moving away from the events. The REALLY IMPORTANT part is that we do not take out our frustrations upon those we encounter along the way. This is the test after the lesson, and the means by which we are building character. Sometimes we pass, other times we fail, but every time we learn something important that will help give us a guiding light for the future.
Reflectors and Radiators of Light
The light we see may be clear and bright like that of the Full Wolf Moon, or it may be fuzzy and faint like the sun trying to poke through the thick clouds. What matters most is we see the light. How we view the light often depends on how far we are on our journey of building character (and it is indeed more of a journey that spans a lifetime than a class with a set time frame and syllabus of course content).
Now this light we see gives us the opportunity to reflect it so others may see it as well. We may reflect this light from the surface of our body in a smile, a kind gesture, or a helpful response. We may also allow this light to penetrate to our hearts and minds where it can create additional energy. When we do this, we radiate the light in a different form, allowing us to help others through prayers, messages, and other acts generated from deep within us.
We all have the potential to be reflectors and radiators. How we view this potential is up to us. The person whose loss I am grieving was indeed a great reflector and radiator of light and life. Though my sorrow is troubling, I know the light this person showed me helped to form my character and my view of the light. It is my hope that what I learned from this person will allow me to be a better reflector and radiator of light to others met upon the journey.
May we see both what lies on the surface and deep within. May we find the light of life not only on the surface, but also within ourselves and each other. May the light we see, reflect, and radiate help us to build character and lead us to where we need to be.
Full moon in the night
Radiating through the atmosphere
Spreading hope in January’s light
Across the path made clear
By the beams and the rays
Pure and white
Spread through the surface displayed
Penetrating to the soul inside.
Snow flakes and rain drops falling
From the sky
Send nature calling
In January’s light
For the heart and soul to hear,
Acting as a guide upon the way
To make the lines clear
As night turns to day.
Sunrise in the dawn
Poking through the crisp air
Sprinkling light upon
The earth in equal shares
Creating a day made new,
Full of blessings in disguise
Coming to the surface through
God’s grace and January’s light.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
Resources and Related Links
Full Wolf Moon- http://farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/
Perception-What We See – https://www.quora.com/We-see-and-understand-the-world-around-us-through-our-own-perception-however-our-perception-is-deeply-affected-and-shaped-by-the-world-around-us-How-much-of-the-world-shapes-our-perception-and-how-much-of-the-world-do-we-shape-through-our-perception
Why God Wants Us to Turn to Him – http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/call-on-god-for-help-in-desperate-times/