Second Thursday • Advent 2022

December 8th, 2022

The Moon Is Always Full

As I was reading my devotional for today, I happily learned something new. It’s interesting, at least to me when I learn something new, my after-thought is…I should have known that! It seems so natural and why did I have to learn it to know it. Today’s title is a great example, “the moon is always full,” I actually said to myself, “well, DUH…Charlotte, one does not need to be a scientist to know that. Indeed, the moon is always itself, full all the time; however, we cannot always see it in its entirety due to orbiting the earth.

A Few Statistics

  • The Moon orbits Earth once every 27.3 days
  • The moon spins on its axis once every 27.3 days
  • Earth orbits the Sun once every 365 days
  • Earth spins on its axis once every 24 hours

This means that although the Moon is rotating, it always keeps one face toward us. Known as “synchronous rotation,” this is why we only ever see the Moon’s nearside from Earth.

I found an article online in which the writer referenced the phrase, “the moon is always full” from a book called, “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. The actual quote is, “There is a Japanese saying, “For the moon there is the cloud. For the flower there is the wind.” When we see a part of the moon covered by a cloud, or a tree, or a weed, we feel how round the moon is. But when we see the clear moon without anything covering it, we do not feel that roundness the same way we do when we see it through something else.

I actually own a two copies of this book, hardback book and audio. I guess it just moved up to priority level in my reading library. I would be amiss if I did not say that the book was recommended several years ago by a dear friend, PC and I think she would be pleased that I’m finally going to read it.

though it is midnight, dawn is here; even though dawn comes, it is nighttime.

Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

1 Corinthians 13

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

I can’t help but draw some similarities to the moon and our humanness. Some of us only see the crescent of the moon never realizing the whole moon is still there. In our lives it’s in reverse, we see the whole of people (the exterior/body) but only know pieces (interior/thoughts/emotions/etc.) or the crescent of who they really are. Unfortunately, many people choose to fill in the unknown with half truths or less. My thoughts go to Mary and Joseph all those years ago, I’m sure people “talked” about them both directly and behind their backs. Gossip has been around a long time. Most people don’t want to take the time to know the truth, it involves connecting with people and that can be messy. Mary and Joseph were being obedient to God, that was what mattered. I’m sure there were relatives and neighbors that did not understand, but they did not let that deter them from being faithful. Mary and Joseph’s hearts were for God and His will, God was able to see the “whole” of who they were. Everyone else only saw the exterior of who they were. I often think about the pure hearts and minds of Mary and Joseph, knowing that they were created beings just like you and I. Made with purpose and a plan, a marvelous plan.

God of the two lights.

I love the sun,

it’s revealing brilliance,

it’s lingering warmth,

but in the dark of night,

let me learn

the wisdom of the moon,

how it waxes and wanes

but does not die,

how it gives itself

to shadow,

knowing it will emerge whole

once more.

- Jan Richardson

Life teaches us many life lessons and I am no exception to the rule, some lessons took me several attempts before the knowledge penetrated my thick stubborn skull. I don’t regret any of them, because each failure yield a specific skill I needed to continue my journey through life. I’m thankful that God never gave up on me. Our hearts are very precious cargo we carry with us everyday, I love the words from Proverbs 4:23, King Solomon said, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

When we open our hearts to others, much like seeing the whole of the moon not just the crescent we can experience fullness. This allows others see more of our wholeness. In doing this, the opening of our hearts, we are exposing ourselves to vulnerabilities. Making oneself vulnerable is neither good nor bad, it is an opportunity to deepen relationships and cultivate a greater sense of self. We can expand our understanding of our shared human and spiritual presence in the world. Remember, you can choose who and what you share with others. Place your trust in God, allow Him to guide your path.

“He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

—Psalm 23:3b

When we see people, it is a good reminder that even though we see a “people” we are only seeing a “crescent” of who they really are. Sometimes I see people on their best day and others on their worst day, I may not always succeed but I try to just be kind. In my job, when I interact with frustrated people and I get frustrated, it is never productive. Frustrated people just want to be heard, even if they are wrong. Allowing a bit of latitude and calm speech can go a long way in de-escalating an issue. In a world, even in a season of rush and self-absorbed people, a kind word or a kind gesture can do wonders.

Friends, I pray for you this day…may you be welcomed with kindness and may it return in full measure. You are a gift to me and a blessing.

This is a link to a PDF copy of the book, ““Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.


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