I was a little boy when I met my Great Aunt Junia. She had travelled to Illinois from far away Texas to visit her relatives. Past eighty years, her angular features and voice of ancient authority made a lasting impression. She spoke to me about her love of creation, especially the beauty and mystery of the heavens, so that, whenever I read Psalm 8, I think of her.
She knew the constellations and their legends, and on that early winter evening, she spun stories about the Big and Little Bear, the Dragon, Orion the Hunter, the Great Dog, Sagittarius the Archer, and the Seven Sisters. I wondered if she was one of the seven sisters incarnate, and when I learned of her death a few years later, I imagined that she simply ascended to reclaim her position among that cluster of stars.
On countless evenings since then, in every season, I have looked at the stars and studied their patterns and thought of her and her wisdom and her stories. How can one chance meeting make such an impact? Matching an impressionable child with an octagenarian makes part of the answer. The rest of the answer lies in the mystery of meeting and the amazing possibilities of the moment.
Sometimes we become discouraged that our weekly hours in work, study, and worship seem to mean so little and make so little impact. Months of confirmation classes can leave some young adults seemingly unaffected. Then again, even one brief moment can bring to life an insight and a relationship that will make all the difference between faith and despair. Treasure the moment and its possibilities.