Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky… or as my fifteen-month granddaughter sings it “kakle, kakle, sahh, ahh, ahh.” Don’t judge. Her mother grew up in New England where people say “Pahk yah, cahs in Hahvahd Yahd.” It could be she’s already picking up the accent her mother brought to their new home fifteen hundred miles away. The point is that my granddaughter loves that song. Every time I go to visit, almost as soon as I walk in through the door, she brings her storybook with the big yellow star on the cover. We put the world on “pause”, she proceeds to climb on my lap and rests her little head on my chest. We cuddle to read it- at least three times before we can move on. I don’t mind. I love it!
I can’t say that she’s made a connection between the star in the book and the immense collection of twinkling diamonds in the night sky outside her window. She rarely stays up past 7:30 anyway. I’m sure when she’s old enough; she will be as mesmerized by the vast infinity of bright lights in the night sky as I am. How can she not?
The first time I was aware of the overwhelming expansion of the stars in the black velvet sky, I was breathless. To understand the extent of my reaction, you have to remember that I am a “city kid.” I grew up at a time when folks were talking about smog, pollution and how to make the air better in the large cities across the country. I don’t lie when I tell you that I never imagined the night sky could be so much more amazing than a visit to the planetarium. I was about 16. It was during a Winter Youth Retreat in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, the night was crisp and not a cloud in the sky. It was magical.
I’ve lived just outside city limits since then, and whenever there is a night clear enough to see the sky full of stars, I swear I feel a little tipsy. It still takes my breath away. In one of those moments of stretching reality through imagination, I promised my kids that when I’m gone from this world, I’ll try to find a way to still keep looking out for them. Maybe I’ll be looking out from behind one of those stars. In our family, many of our loved ones have left this earth before we were ready to say “Goodbye.” I love that quote that suggests that stars are windows in the sky for our loved ones to see us. Here Anne Murray’s version of the same idea. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbZBZC01_sQ
I do believe that our loved ones have the opportunity to become angels or spirit guides as some faith practices believe. A teacher once said it might take some longer than others, but that’s why we pray for the deceased souls and offer services. I find that comforting, maybe that’s why I will always love a starry, starry night. It lights my soul and gives me hope.