It's a quiet night in the Arizona desert, Calm, warm and bathed in the glow of the large full moon.
Nothing making sound except the crickets, and my own breathing. In contrast to the surrounding silence even the beating of my own heart seems loud.
My heart beating a little quicker, a little louder as my eyes scan the barren landscape for movement. For the briefest glimpse of something moving on the horizon.
I knew it was out there, it had to be. I had felt it, smelled it, or was that the smell of my own fear.
What ever it was, I was NOT alone. There was something out there.
Just out of the corner of my eyes and For only an instant I saw it dash across the darkened night sky.
My pulse quickened.
The hair on my arms at complete attention,
Goosebumps covering my body like a popcorn ceiling.
Ok, I was frightened.
I let my imagination play with me. I unleashed it and gave it free reign. Allowing all my fears to come wandering in the giant open doors of my over active mind.
I am the doorman dressed in a red uniform complete with cap and tassel.
Yelling like the circus Ring Master,
"come one, come all fears and phobias of all ages the mind is willing and the flesh is weak,"
That's when I hear it.
The mournful wail
"Ahooooooooooo!" was the long, terrifiying cry.
Ahooooooo! It came again
All of a sudden I was the fightened teenager with visions of Lon Chaney Jr as the wolf man, David Naughten as The wearwolf in American Wearwolf in London, Michael Jackson in the thriller video or even Michael J. fox in Teen Wolf.
The wolfs mournful howl at the moon had sent a shiver up my spine that I will not soon forget.
I had to get out of here…
I had to escape..
It was coming for me!
It was getting closer!!
It was going to eat me!!!!
One last time I heard its cry to the moon and knew that it was
I felt it touch me! Envisioning the large fangs sinking into my goose pimpled flesh..
I screamed in pure fright as I heard it speak
"Come on Grandpa howl at the moon with me. " came the voice of my 4 year old grad daughter as she leaned her head back and howled to the night sky,
"its FUN and its what we are supposed to do" she encouraged me.
With my near heart attack now subsiding
I leaned my head back and howled along with her. Giggling and laughing together.
Moon, Grandpa Moon! Ahoooooo….
My neighbors now think we are completely nuts!
And perhaps we are.
Life as a whole is like that. Full of unknown, full of things, if left unchecked, will cause us grief, or have us shrinking in fear for what we don't know.
Fear of what MIGHT be,
Fear of the
Monster under the bed.
We have all been there.
Throughout history we have been afraid of the unknown. Empires have risen and fallen because we, as humans, are simply afraid of the new, the untested.
But no example was better played out for us as the story of Jesus.
From the very start their family was afraid,
Afraid of what people might say or do,
Afraid of what people will THINK.
And God sent angels to calm them.
When Joseph and Mary needed shelter none was given, Were all the inns closed? Booked?
Or was a small part of it that inn keepers were afraid.
Afraid of this shabby, dirt covered man and his VERY pregnant wife.
And again God directed them to the one person that would take a chance, and provide a manger for them away from the house that maybe people wouldn't talk.
But they would talk, they would fight through their fears and the unknown to follow the bright star in the sky
To find this curious child.
Through Jesus life and ultimately his ministry, he continued to not conform to what society thought he should be.
He was NOT the mighty warrior that people sought,
He WAS the man teaching us about love and forgiveness, about coming out of a dark life, and embracing a loving one.
It was too much.
And so, those that were afraid of the carpenter condemned him to die, and hung him on a cross.
Yet while there he once again pulled from the dark to the light and forgave.
I guess you could say he howled at the sky and called to his father.
Jesus took the darkest time in history to cast light when he rose from the tomb.
And for my granddaughter and I, howling at the moon that night was our way of saying,
I am NOT going to be afraid of the dark or of what might be. I am going to fight the grip of darkness and howl "NO MORE"
And then giggle and laugh.
Or perhaps it was just my quirky granddaughter wanting to be different and choose that one person she knew would be goofy with her…
As we howled that night others lent their voice in chorus. Filling the darkness with life, light and laughter.
We had become like a party of wild dogs calling to the night…
I just hope I bought enough KIBBLE.