Fifty years ago today I was walking across my university campus when I heard the news that JFK had been shot in Dallas.
As a freshman in college, I ran to find a pay phone to call home. There are no words to describe the feelings and thoughts that flooded my mind. We live in America. How can this happen? What does this mean will happen? Is the world coming to an end?
As we think back on that day, those of us who experienced it all remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and what we did.
Yesterday morning at 4:30a.m., my husband and I crawled out of bed to drive east, away from the city lights, with the hope of catching a glimpse of Comet ISON. It’s not every day a comet shares one’s name! After driving an hour, we found a perfect spot to wait and watch.
The still, dark, vast and seemingly deserted landscape was awe inspiring. There is nothing to quite compare with the calmness that permeates my being when I take a moment to absorb the beauty of creation.
The contrast between my reactions to these two experiences could not be much greater. One was overwhelmingly troubling and filled with dread; the other filled with peace and joyful anticipation.
What we see so often clouds what we cannot see.
After Walt Disney’s death, a person visiting Disney World commented to a friend of Disney’s that it was too bad Disney hadn’t lived to see it. A less than lovely, arid piece of central Florida landscape had been truly transformed to become the lavishly green and fun-filled family park of Disney World.
The long time friend of Disney replied, “Oh, but Disney did see it. That’s why it’s here.”
It is often quite a trial to look through difficult circumstances and hold on to a vision beyond what we can see, to the good that we believe lies ahead.
What is the good vision beyond the tragedy of November 22, 1963? I can speak only for myself. Looking past the cloud of tragic circumstances, it taught me the world would not come to an end.
You may now be wondering why I titled this article Comet ISON. Well, the truth is this: As my husband and I searched the skies that hour before sunrise, a bright light appeared. We took a picture and sent it by text to our amateur astronomer son. He replied, “Sorry, but that’s not it…looks like it’s obscured by the clouds there.”
From our vantage point, the clouds obscured our view of Comet ISON, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. In another place that morning, perhaps without even expecting it, someone else looked up and beheld the astronomical wonder that we could only imagine through the clouds.
Eventually clouds dissipate or move on. And when they do–if we keep looking–we are able to see more clearly what was there all along.