Several lifetimes ago I moved to Washington, DC and married a man who made it a habit to regularly visit the Air & Space Museum. On his way in and on his way back out he would touch the moon rock on display at the entrance. He wanted me to join him in this ritual, but I refused. That was his thing and it felt like doing his thing would be at the cost of my own power and identity.
This past summer (40 years later) I was out on a walk with my sister who was visiting. We were on my standard walk which includes a street with a dead end. At the turn-around there are two large signs, like stop signs except filled with reflective circles with the last circle being dead center. Without missing a beat or saying a word, my sister touched the inner circle of one as she made a smooth pivot.
I’d always thought about touching that center circle to mark my turnaround but never did. Now seeing Amy do it, I instantly regretted not having got there first because I could suddenly see the beauty of it. Nonetheless, I stubbornly and specifically did not follow suit. It felt like the moon rock all over again. But then a week later something softened, and I took up the ritual. It’s now a touchstone to Amy. There isn’t a pivot that goes by without me thinking of her.
When fall rolled around, a couple of high school classmates from Iowa visited. I hadn’t seen them in 40+ years, having only recently re-connected. On the second day of their visit, we took a lobster boat cruise, landing afterwards at a lunch place in Southwest Harbor. As we were getting ready to go, they asked my partner and I if we would join them in a prayer huddle in the parking lot before parting ways. I looked at Gary with a little alarm. We are not prayer huddle people. Still, there was something so earnest and open-hearted about their invitation. Plus, it would be awkward to turn them down. We said okay and headed out.
In the parking lot, we huddled together with our arms draped around each other’s shoulders, heads bowed and almost touching, as Martin asked for our good health and happiness along with many other warm wishes. It was sweet and also going quite long. I became uncomfortably aware of other parties getting in their cars and driving away. Eventually we did, too.
In the couple of months since then I’ve thought a lot about that huddle. It’s curious; though the invitation at the time felt a little like an imposition of their way on us (okay, maybe a lot), now it feels oddly like liberation that we did it, like we had the freedom and fearlessness to join some friends for a little while in their world then leave bigger than before.
It’s 2023, a new year. Today, I would touch that moon rock in a heartbeat as a prayer for open-hearted spaciousness and connection. My world does not have to be so small and tight. I will not come apart.
Many moon rock blessings to you and yours,