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Stars From Afar

A couple of months ago, I was enjoying one of our annual southeastern meteor showers, the Geminids, with my family under a clear winter sky. The question arose, "Why do stars twinkle?" I grasped at my words, finding fault in what I was trying to say while I was saying it (as I admittedly do sometimes).

Growing up, I was told, "Think before you speak, not as you speak." Suddenly, I caught a twinkling planet out of the corner of my eye, which stopped my blundering explanation. So, the very next day, after an extra cup of morning enthusiasm, I scoured through some archives or, as we say these days, I googled it.

As it turns out, to my somewhat immediate discouragement, I discovered that it had all been an illusion. Not the part about me being wrong, believe me, there was nothing illusive about that; one must learn to get used to that, and I've managed to over the years. What I found was that it was not the stars that twinkled. Instead, it was literally the space between us and those celestial bodies that bent the visible light as we saw it. After a deep sigh and with a content smile, I was okay with that explanation. After all, they are still beautiful objects of wonder that elicit awe, enlightenment, and inspiration.

In our daily lives, we often find ourselves learning surprising details about what may have seemed so simple before. Moreover, we frequently take what we think we know for granted and come to consider it as true. The truth may not be as it appears or as distant as you think.

The next time you find yourself peering deep into the darkness, seek to find a point of light and focus on it. Hold on to that sparkle, as it is that point in the vast emptiness that draws us nearer to the truth, and in turn, all seems brighter. On the flip side, remember that as our light bends over the many miles, from a distance, each of us are stars in the heavens, too.
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