Monday, September 28, 2015

The Answer Is In Our Stars

Back in the 1980's, scientist Carl Sagan told us something amazing ... that we were made from stars! He told us that the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our bodies, as well as atoms of all other heavy elements, were created in previous generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago! What's more, humans and every other animal, as well as most of the matter on earth, contain these atoms!

This subject came to mind last night as everyone sat outside and looked towards the heavens to experience the Super Moon-Lunar Eclipse. As I stood out there willing the blanket of clouds that had rolled in to part long enough for me to watch this miracle along with the rest of the world, a tiny split in the clouds opened up that allowed me to see, not the moon, but stars! Glittering, winking, beautiful stars. I sat down on the picnic bench and just gazed at their glow for a while. Carl Sagan's words came back to me and I looked on in wonder at what was essentially a piece of me staring back at me! Even more amazing was the idea that the light from that star had taken millions of years to get here, yet here it was, still shining down on me, having lost none of its glitter.

When we hit a certain age, we begin to worry that we don't have enough time left to "get it all done." There are so many things we want to do, adventures we want to have, experiences we want to explore, and we see our "golden years" as either the end of the road, or the beginning of a new one. Either way, we need to take a lesson out the the stars' playbook and remember that each and every day, we still glitter. In everything we do, if we let our light shine, it's effect can be felt on everyone around us for years to come.

Just this morning, my 22 year old granddaughter posted something on Facebook about how it was nice that everyone was outside last night sharing the experience of the eclipse with their families, friends and neighbors, but that these same people had been holed up in front of their computers and video games before last night, and would go back into their holes after it was over. What had happened to sitting out on the porch after dinner, spending time with family and friends, watching kids playing under the same stars that were out there last night providing a sparkling backdrop to the night's events? I had to admit that I was darn proud of her. She had spent many a night outside after dark with her Grandma when she was little, watching the stars, and the moon, and the little animals that came out while the rest of the animal world slept. That experience, that "shine," had stayed with her all of these years, not to be forgotten once she became an adult and a mother as well.

I like to think that my whole life is just like one of those stars, shining that light out to all those around me, making a difference in people's lives, and lighting my own path as I continue to take each step, for as many steps as I have left, in the knowledge that we are made of stars, and our light is, and will be, there for years and years to come. It does my heart good to know that a young woman stands outside at night with her two year old son and shows him the stars just like her Grandma did with her, and that someday he will do the same. That's the kind of light that never goes out.

And so it is.