I was a little boy when I met my Great Aunt Junia from San Antonio at Uncle Lon’s house. She was past ninety. 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 in that early winter evening when she was visiting from her home far away, she spun stories about Orion the Hunter, the Great Dog, Sagittarius the Archer, and the Seven Sisters. When we stepped outside the house she pointed to them in their positions in the heavens, and she told me to remember them. I was sure that she was one of those Seven Sisters incarnate, and when I learned of her death a few years later, I imagined that she simply ascended to reclaim her rightful place among them.
On many 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 a nonagenarian brings part of the answer. The rest lies in the mystery of meeting and the amazing possibilities of the moment.
Sometimes we are discouraged that our hours of worship, or study, or work together seem to mean so little. A year of confirmation classes can leave some young adults seemingly unaffected. Then again, 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.