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In the stars

March 6, 2011

After leaving my friend’s house this evening and walking with a couple of others on the way to the bus stop, I did something that I do not often do – I looked up and saw the stars.

This is not something I do very often for a couple of reasons, the main of which is because when I lived in the United States, I lived in a city, and if I looked up, I usually saw ambient light, not stars. So over the years, I kind of got out of the practice of looking up, and was only reminded to do so when I was visiting my sister or my parents, who live in “the country”, where a person can look up in the sky and see the stars. So it was a rare thing when I saw the stars, and rarer still when I actually took the time to stop and really look at them.

I have never been the person who could identify all the constellations – I am lucky if I can find the Big and Little Dippers. And I have to admit that even in circumstances where I have the opportunity to do so, I often forget to look up in the sky, because my mind is on something else ( like getting home). But tonight it was different – I was with friends, we were on our way to the bus stop. It became one of those moments where you look up and it is almost as if you had forgotten that the stars were there.

Then you look up and see them, these balls of gas so far away, and realize once again what a wonderous thing it is, this universe in which we live. The fact that we are on this Earth, the fact that we stay on this Earth (i.e., gravity), the mind-blowing thought that we are not indeed the only “intelligent” life in this universe. I find it to be a rather humbling feeling, to look up in the sky and to be reminded of just how small and relatively insignificant I am in the universe.

Whether you believe our universe was created by God, by science, or by some combination of the two, it is marvelous to behold, and marvelous to think about. Sometimes it’s nice to have the reminder that when it comes down to it, we all are equal. We all see the same sun, moon, and stars, if only from different vantage points. We all have things with which we struggle, we all have joys, we all have sorrows, we all have fears and we all have faith (even those who would argue that they don’t have faith on God have faith in something). Sometimes realizing that helps, especially if a person is going through a difficult time – we are ultimately not alone, whether or not we realize it. It’s just the realizing it part that seems to be the hardest.

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