Normally, there are 12 full moons (one for each month) per year. Every two or three years, though, there are two moons in one month (“moonth”). That second moon is known as a “blue moon.”
Blue moons aren’t colored blue, but they are out of the ordinary — thus the saying, “Once in a blue moon.” An unusual atmospheric condition could give the moon a blue cast, perhaps, but the most likely cause of the moon appearing blue is described in this couplet from 1548:
If they say the moon is blue,
We must believe that it is true.
I remember, as a child, trying to figure out why my parents said “There’s a blue moon tonight.” The moon didn’t look so blue to me, no matter how hard I tried to make it appear so.
Which brings me to 2020 … another “blue moon” year.
I know pretty well zero about astronomy, but I’m fascinated by the night sky and stay updated on astronomical events. I’ve even been known to get up way before dawn to view meteors or drive hundreds of miles to get positioned better for a solar eclipse.
Drum roll, please.
Given the coronavirus upheaval this planet witnessed in 2020, not to mention social upheaval, stock market gyrations, and the election year … this may not come as a surprise:
Not only did 2020 host a blue moon, but it appeared on October 31st, the evening of All Hallows’ Eve (also known as “halloween”).
Is the cup half full or half empty?
Life presents us with many dichotomies — stark divisions, like good versus bad, right versus wrong, and up versus down. But we often find the personal impact of events we witness is determined by our own interpretation, not by any necessarily set-in-stone truth.
For example, you are delayed in traffic — then later discover there was a horrible accident on your route that you may very well have been in the midst of had you not been slowed by the traffic jam.
There are many reports of people who were late for work or missed a flight on September 11, 2001. Those people describe being first upset, then amazed, when they found being on time or being on the plane would’ve meant almost certain death. Every account I’ve read ends with the person asking, “Why me? Why was I spared when so many others were not?”
2020 was a year many people wished would quickly run its course. We grew weary of wearing masks, seeing people and property destroyed, and watching the political parties accuse one another of high treason. We remembered simpler, more civil days when the American Dream seemed real and possible for anyone who would pitch in and do the work.
But maybe — just maybe — there’s a blessing in the unfolding story. Maybe there’s something good that will come of it all. Maybe there’s an unseen hand guiding the days and months and years of our lives. I choose to take that stance … to look for the “pony in this pile of horse poop” … rather than to curse and fear and fume against the unfolding reality.
I’m a believer. I won’t deny that, and I hope I never deny that. I believe reason, purpose, and truth exist … and I believe the words of the one who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” My reason to hold tight to faith, rather than despair, is based on my own experiences — times where the Creator has intervened in my life in unmistakable ways.
“If your Torah had not been my delight, I would have perished in my distress” (Pslam 119:92)
If you’re frightened, angry, confused … if you’re wondering what in the world is going on and what could happen next … there’s a book that covers it all, and there’s a person who can walk with you to explain it all.
My prayer is that you respond to that call … Today.
PS: For years, I’ve wondered something that seems absurd (perhaps). It’s more of a challenge to myself (I guess) than to others. We’re so busy on this planet. We’re so hateful and selfish. We’re too well-fed (many of us) or too hungry (many of us) to turn our hearts and ears towards Heaven.
What would happen if we all stopped and listened?