I’m driven tonight by a restlessness which has no name.
I’m looking for something, but I can’t remember what I’m looking for. I’m trying to fill a hole, but I can’t look into the hole to see what’s missing. There’s something priceless which is almost within my grasp, but it disappears when I turn to take it as my own.
As I left dinner, I couldn’t bring myself to go home. Whatever I needed — whatever I was looking for on this restless night — was not there. I was hungry, but it wasn’t for food. I was thirsty, but it wasn’t for water or any drink.
My soul was crying out in a silent scream which I couldn’t put into words but which overwhelmed me like a storm on the inside trying to break out of my raging heart.
I drove north on a small two-lane road out into the country. There were a few houses but no other signs of development. Everything was dark except for my headlights and the bright full moon above me.
And like an ancient sailor who was driven by the wails of sirens he couldn’t resist, I wanted to reach out for the moon. Surely what I seek must be there.
As I drove, the moon became the symbol of all that I needed. That’s where love was. That’s where acceptance and understanding and fulfillment were waiting. That’s the place where shame and hurt and anger could be buried — surely on the dark side — and never felt or seen again.
I’ve been chasing that moon all my life, but the truth — which every child learns — is that you can’t get any closer to the moon, no matter where you stand, where you walk, where you run or where you drive.
You can chase the moon all the way around the world and not get a bit closer. It remains out of your grasp. Sometimes brighter. Sometimes dimmer. Sometimes obscured. Always hiding. Always reminding you it’s there — but never allowing you to touch it.
When I recognized a country church where I had gone to take sunset photos in years past, I pulled onto the driveway and drove through the adjacent cemetery to a spot where there were no trees obscuring the view.
I set up a tripod among the graves and found myself thinking how odd it is that cemeteries have been the locations for so many of my shots of nature lately. I’m often not fond of being around cemeteries — even though I know the discomfort is irrational — but I didn’t feel that way tonight.
I felt as though I was protected and even guided, as though an unseen angel or spirit directed my actions. In the most paradoxical of feelings, I felt guided by love and warmth and light — even as I was reaching out to a distant moon on a dark night to find the love which I really need.
The sky was clear and bright. The moon was a beautiful shining disk which seemed to invite me to reach out for it. The stars were millions of tiny points of light all around in the vast distance beyond.
I sat on a concrete bench in the cemetery and started collecting my thoughts. Inside, the feelings make sense, but I don’t have words for them.
When I was a child, I badly wanted the love of my absent mother. I needed it so badly that I talked myself into believing that I didn’t care whether she ever came back or not. So when I felt the hurt of needing her, I learned to feel numbness inside — so I couldn’t feel the pain of a breaking heart silently pleading, “Please love me, Mother. Please come back for me.”
I’m not sure how long I’ve been sitting here in the pleasant late-summer night. Other than crickets and the sounds I’ve made myself, I’ve heard nothing. It’s peaceful. It feels safe here, despite the odd location. I feel surrounded by something which I can’t put into words — a warm, loving presence.
I feel the odd sense that someone has brought me to this place and is pointing to the moon — and saying, “You have to go there. You’ll find everything you need there.”
When I missed my mother and needed her love, I didn’t know what I was feeling. But tonight — as I stand in this open space consecrated to the spirits of those buried here — I know what to say. And I know who I need to speak the words to.
I never resolved my need for my mother’s love and I’ll never be able to (since she’s dead). But there’s someone else I need — and I have to somehow resolve my need for her. I don’t know how she can hear me, but I know what to say.
I talked to God. I talked to someone who seemed to be with me. Angel? Spirit? I don’t know. I talked to the moon. And for a moment, it felt as though the moon was like a giant telephone or a magical looking glass just waiting to relay my words. I felt as though I could talk to her. She might not hear my voice, but I needed to say the words anyway.
“I love you,” I said clearly in the quiet night air. “I need you to know that I love you, just as you are. And I miss you so badly.”
After I spoke those words, it was as though the spell was broken. Whatever I had come to do, I had now done. I hadn’t been able to pull the moon down to Earth, but the words I spoke brought me just a little bit closer — in some way that I can’t put into words.
I can go home now. The restlessness is fading. Whatever brought me out here tonight is gone. It felt as though there was purpose. And it felt as though I did everything I needed to do when I spoke those powerful words.
“I love you.”