“Hey guys, I think you need to come out here.”
“Come on, Dave. We just got our drinks.”
“No seriously, I really think you should come outside—now!”
It’s the last day of a very enjoyable tour through the South Island of New Zealand. My fellow tour-mates and I have hiked through the forest. We’ve sea-kayaked in a beautiful blue bay. And now, here in Abel Tasman park, we’re enjoying a few celebratory drinks in a local tavern. Running behind a bit, I find myself walking from our camp ground to the pub in an inky-black forest, with not a street lamp in sight. For no reason in particular, I look up and do a double take. Have I been transported to a planetarium? The entire Milky Way is laid out above me in the sharpest detail. It is the most perfect, starry night I’ve ever seen – like something straight from the James Web Space Telescope.
My friends eventually accede to my urgings, pick themselves up from the lounge and join me outside. Without warning, I say, “Okay everyone, close your eyes. Now look up and open them.” A chorus of “Wows” fills the air. None of us have seen a sky like this, something that New Zealand is famous for. In fact, New Zealand even has certain places designated as “dark sky sanctuaries,” where you can see the sky in unreal clarity. Our view in Abel Tasman may not be a dark sky, but it’s still one of the most magnificent, awe-inspiring, Wow sights I’ve ever seen.
“Glad you like it guys. Now let’s go get that drink.”
(We all get comfortable in our lives. We sit down, enjoy a cold beverage, luxuriate in the warmth of snug watering hole – and this is perfectly fine. Relaxation and fellowship is a huge part of a good life. But sometimes, just sometimes, we need to set the drink down, step outside, and just look up. Because awe and wonder are necessary as well! When is the last time you felt awe? What if you felt it every day, right here at home?)