On Meteors, Signs, and Whatever Portion of Truth That Remains

***OPENING NOTE: This post was meant to be posted on December 13, the peak of Geminid meteor shower. However, as circumstance dictate, it was not posted until now. The circumstance is briefly narrated on the closing note.***

Hello again, dear courteous reader! Well, the ship has been docking for three weeks now and I have taken great pleasure in recharging myself back from a distressing, albeit interesting, voyage abroad. During the voyage I didn’t have the opportunity to sit leisurely underneath the night sky because when I came back to my cabin every evening I was too tired to even think about it. So it’s good to be able to do it again, especially at a time like this.

“What time like this?” you ask. Now you might have read somewhere that in these recent days there is a particularly bright meteor shower by the name of Geminid. This meteor shower was the one I wrote about last year. It was an amazing experience of stargazing, you know, because there were so many of them at that time.

Then you ask again: “What’s so amazing about that? They are mere shooting stars, aren’t they?” Great, now I have the opportunity to tell you one or two things about meteors.

First off, they’re spectacular. Really. One has to see a meteor shower at least once in his/her entire course of a lifetime. Yes, it’s not full of exploding colors, and yes, it doesn’t last for more than seconds, yet you sense yourself being overwhelmed with a bizarre jubilant feeling. It’s like watching a green field from a distance and, after quite a long period of watching, suddenly a white rabbit pops out of it, innocently looks to its left and right, and then—after realizing that there is a human nearby—disappears again into its burrow. Surely you can’t help smiling on that playful, almost comic, scene? It is playful, yet it is splendid in its simplicity. I think in terms of astronomical splendour it can only be surpassed by the Auroras, the Milky Way, and the Nebulae.

But that’s not as significant reason as the second. And because this second reason is significant, I’m afraid I have to bore you a bit, dear courteous reader, by recounting a little story from my yesteryear. Well, there was a time when this humble sailor of yours often climbed to the deck, sat down, and watch the night sky for hours. On one particular evening I was lying flat on my back on the wooden deck when all of a sudden one brilliant shooting star emerged from the constellation Crux.

This meteor flashed splendidly, as if prompting myself to make a wish. So I asked, “May I?” And the reply came swift: “Yes.”

“How many wishes do I get? Two, please,” I begged.

“Granted.”

So there you go, the second reason why meteors are not mere shooting stars: they are somehow capable to become a sign, a promise, an accord. You may dismiss that as delusive product of imagination, but at least for me, personally, that is not the case here. I felt the presence of a strong intuitive knowledge in this particular case.

“What are you talking about? Pure nonsense!” I hear you saying, in a prejudicial manner.

You fire back: “Now you call me prejudicial? Goodness be, it’s you who is being prejudicial here. After all, your wishes haven’t been fulfilled, have they? And you don’t even mention what your wishes are.”

Well, I think what my wishes are is not relevant to our present discussion. Whether I had wished for a cat’s longevity or for universal peace, it doesn’t make my case any stronger. So I ignore that comment and move to the fulfillment question, and the answer is: yes, they haven’t been fulfilled yet. However, you cannot laugh victoriously yet; I have another little story in store for you.

On another particular evening—a few weeks after the aforementioned encounter with a brilliant meteor—I climbed up to the deck again. I wasn’t looking for meteors. In fact, I was praying. The prayer was sent in a successive order; I prayed for myself first, and then for my parents, and then for my siblings, and on it goes to less and less familiar objects. I saw no meteor in the sky up until the moment I pray for a friend. This particular friend had been harassed on a social media and I thought it was a subject worth praying for. As the prayer was being uttered, ZAP! I saw a meteor blazing and then came the same strange feeling again that ‘it is not a mere shooting star’. Several days after that, the harassment stopped.

But then again, I don’t always feel that way every time I see a meteor. On one dusk I sat with my friends and suddenly there appeared a bright meteor. It was very bright I thought it was a fireball. However, I did not sense any specialness about this meteor.

You replied: “Okay, maybe those meteors are not mere shooting stars. But still, I am against your view because that’s not the right way to lead a Christian life! In Matthew 12:39 Jesus said, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign…’ If one is to follow Christ, he/she has to immediately do it without waiting for a sign. By looking for a sign you’re reducing the concept of Faith to bits and pieces!”

Exactly. I know. One friend—after I recounted my story—told me how lucky I was to be given a sign and she envied that. But surely that was not something to be envied! The sign was given, I think, because my faith is immeasurably small. So the fact is, it is me who should envy her, because, however hard she asked, God has not given any sign to her.

Think of it as a measure of one’s spiritual maturity. Had those meteors not been sent, I—who really was a spiritual crybaby—might have chosen the wrong way again. On the other hand, she has not been given any sign because she’s already—spiritually speaking—mature enough to keep walking on the right path whatever the outcome is with her request.

So at this year’s Geminid meteor shower period, I’m glad I haven’t seen any meteor. I have to be honest, though, at first I was a bit upset because those meteors were really splendid. But I meditated again on His reply to the Pharisees, smiled, and said to myself: “Onwards!”

***CLOSING NOTE: I have been thinking of closing this blog because I think it’s pretty useless and because writing this stuff requires me—nay, forces me, to not only write, but also to act it out in my daily life. But my, how hard it is even just to walk! Days after writing those words above, I began to ask for a sign again. Almost an ultimatum, indeed. Yeah, pardon my inconsistency, dear courteous reader, but that was me: this humble sailor of yours are no saints. But praise be to the Captain for His mercy, I was given yet another meteor while I was requesting defiantly. So I put out my cigarette, smiled, and again, said to myself: “Onwards!”***

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25 comments

  1. jovalista

    So, uh, hi again! I saw your recent post on the Reader and found myself scrolling through your blog posts. It’s just now that I found out that you were once a nihilist before sailing with The Good Captain. Your writings encouraged me to share The Good News to a friend of mine who’s been tossed by the waves of the world. I’ve been hesitating but it almost felt like God gave me signs of encouragement by showing me stories of encouragement from fellow believers, books, and of course His Holy Words. I hope you write more of your sailing with The Good Captain!

    • Mard Evan

      Hello there! At last, a comment from a visitor haha. Sorry it took months for me to reply. I’m not a good blogger, you know.

      Yeah, I was once a cold nihilist and I admit that without any single drop of pride. Quite ashamedly, in fact. That’s why reading your comment is very encouraging, knowing that what I have been writing not go in vain. What happened to your blog, by the way?

      • Mard Evan

        Oh my, sorry, you already commented before in a post! And you didn’t delete your blog! Now I’m the worst kind of blogger.

      • jovalista

        Nothing worth doing in God’s name ever goes in vain! 😀

        Ah, and I also read Surprised by Joy because one of your blog post. Thank you for sharing about the book! It gave me a new understanding of the joy of being with Christ. (Psst, you might also check out John Piper’s ministry/web/books on this subject. A lot of his thinking is inspired from Lewis.)

        Eh? My blog is still here and alive: http://jovalista.wordpress.com

        If you try to click the URL in my name, it’s a broken link. I also don’t know why it’s like that.

      • Mard Evan

        Yes, I’ve read some of his works. Very good. You should check “The Romantic Rationalist”!
        Hmmm why is it that there is no ‘Follow’ button when I visited your blog?

      • jovalista

        That’s on my reading list. I’m currently reading “Alive to Wonder”.

        There is! It’s on the bottom right corner of the page. It pops up when your mouse is moving/pointed there.

      • jovalista

        Or, you might try to use the Manage button beside Followed Sites on your reader page. 🙂

      • jovalista

        Yay! Nope, architecture. Still studying. Did you study in ITB too? (Guessing this bcs you’re Kak Sandra’s friend haha)

      • Mard Evan

        Cool, architecture. You know the phrase ‘God is an architect’?
        Yes, I was once a student at the Institute.

      • jovalista

        Yeah. That’s the reason behind the phrase ‘God never sleeps’. Haha jk jk.
        Ah, I see. What major?

      • Mard Evan

        Mech engineering. Well, apparently no one has ever coined the phrase ‘God is a mechanical engineer’. I think that’s partly because ‘God never sleeps’ also hahaha. We mech eng students sleep and laugh a lot.

      • jovalista

        Woah mech eng! Kewl. That’s my grandpa’s alma mater. Hahaha. /random/ Sounds like you had a good life here in ITB haha.

      • Mard Evan

        Really? He was at the Institute also?
        Ahaha to say ‘good’ would be a bit too general. Had my ups and downs there and yeah, unfortunately, a bleak period which was dark and cold and dry. I presume you had read the post on my period of nihilism?

      • jovalista

        Yup. Right here in the Institute.
        Oh yeah, of course. That one story that moved me to tell the gospel to my friend. (Can’t say thank you enough for that post!) So it all happened when you were back in ITB? Well, now I’m curious about your meeting with God haha.

      • Mard Evan

        Yes, it all hapened back there at the Institute. To be honest, I haven’t meet the Captain, although I would love to. I can’t even fully comprehend why I changed my view. I mean, even now I often think that the doctrine of Christianity has a lot of puzzling (if not contradictory) points. But doctrine is not what He has died for, isn’t it? I hope soon I can understand enough of this ‘strange worldview’ so that I can make a good blogpost on why I chose to sail with Him.

      • jovalista

        Ahey. Not everything that The Creator has in mind can be comprehended by the creation. And isn’t that the beauty of Faith? To continue going and see the work of The Good Captain while you sail with Him through the waves of mysteries and uncertainities.

        Ah, what nonsense am I saying. And look how long this comment thread has become! Hahaha.

      • Mard Evan

        No no it’s not nonsensical at all. That’s the beauty of it, though often I fail to see.
        Haha it’s always good to have a conversation with fellow sailors. By the way, kindly drop some feedback on this blog. Who knows maybe this blog is worse than I already think it is hahaha.

      • jovalista

        I will! In fact, actually I want to thank you for posting some other posts. They’ve given me quite inspiration and encouragment! Any plan to post something new soon?

      • Mard Evan

        Which other posts are they? It’s great to hear that something here in this blog has given encouragement somewhere else.
        Uh, actually I set a target of one post per month, but it’s getting harder to find the time to write now, given the looming deadline of the project here. Ideas are also getting more scarce. But November still has 4 days haha, hopefully an idea or two will strike me.

  2. jovalista

    The one about Invisible Goodness, especially. As I’ve mentioned above, that post was one of the reason why I started reading Lewis and discover a new perspective of ‘Joy’.

    Yay! Will be waiting for a new post, then. And good luck for your projects!

    • Mard Evan

      Really?! It’s always a great encouragement to know what you have written has some impact on others, however small it is.

      • Mard Evan

        Uh, hopefully ideas blare in tonight haha. Honestly, though, i still dont know what to write. Suggest an idea, dear reader!

      • jovalista

        Well, well. What about something unusual that’s been happening lately? Or your ship and your current voyage. Or maybe, something you read? It’s always interesting to know what other people read. Shared knowledge worth more than when it is kept by oneself.

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