March 8, 2019

Joyful Witness / Kimberly Pohovey

Tales of supermoons, more slivers and much-needed prayer

Kimberly PohoveyAs we drove along on a dark evening in full view of one of the “supermoon” phenomena, my son asked if I remembered there being such a thing as a “supermoon” when I was growing up. I had to admit, I did not.

The cynic in me told my son that I thought the moon had fallen victim to modern marketing, having felt the need to compete with the sun and stars for attention. Thus the “branding campaign” of what we formerly called “new” moon, we now refer to by its more exciting term as “super.”

We laughed a bit and then drove along in silence for a few minutes. I looked up at the moon and, all at once, I recalled the story my dad, hopefully tucked up somewhere in heaven now, shared with me when I was a little girl.

Always inquisitive and even more talkative, I would ply my dad with questions when we drove anywhere. One night, I stared at the moon and asked him why sometimes the moon was big and round and full, and other nights, it was simply a sliver in the sky?

My dad was pensive for a few moments, but without really skipping a beat he said that the moon was God’s window to the world.

Some nights, the world is a chaotic place. People don’t always treat each other very nice, he said, and God needs to keep a watchful eye on everything we are doing. However, there are other nights, when all is well. The world is at peace. On those nights, God can rest a little easier, so he pulls the shade on the window down a little.

I love this story. It is one of my fondest memories of my dad. I also see it as symbolic of my relationship with my Father in heaven. I draw comfort from the image of God, my Father, faithfully watching over us at all times, chaotic or not.

However, I see it as no coincidence that we have a need for “supermoons” in our modern day. Our world appears to grow more troubled with each passing year, increasing the need for a “stretched” view through the window.

In 2019 alone, scientists identified three supermoons. Myths, legends and folklore are attached to the full moon. Most of these stories are associated with some sort of erratic behavior. Ask emergency room personnel or first responders: they will tell you they expect to be busier on nights when there is a full moon.

Conversely, look at the night sky when there is but a sliver of a moon. There is more of a mystique to the night. A calmness abounds. A darker moon recedes and allows the pin-point light of stars to shine brighter.

On March 20, we expect in the night sky the rise of the Super Worm Moon, traditionally heralding the start of spring (when worms are again visible). Beyond this date, the next super moon will not appear until August 2020. With this respite, I pray that we can look forward to less need for “supermoons,” but more slivers, less chaos in our world, and more peace.

(Kimberly Pohovey is a member of St. Jude Parish in Indianapolis. She is the director of mission advancement for Archdiocesan Education Initiatives.)

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