Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shooting star offers sign of hope, peace

I wrote this several years ago in my other life as one of my weekly Impatience of Jobe columns for the Daily Corinthian. While looking for a copy of another column I wrote, I stumbled upon it tonight and thought how timely it was for how I was feeling. So I opted to share it here and as a note on my Facebook page.

Tomorrow is an unusually hard day for me. Eighteen years ago my mama died and eighteen years later, I still miss her. Hopefully I will see a sign tomorrow that will provide some peace - and hope and maybe, even, joy - for me on a day that is generally difficult ...


From time to time, we all look for them as answers
that Someone is listening to us from above. Or simply
as hope personified in an animate object.

Different people have different signs that are
significant to them. Some are simple ones while others
tend to need the more complex signs to let them know
everything is really gonna be OK.

A rainbow, specific cloud formation or unusually
colored sunset are signs for some people that things
are going to turn around. Certain songs showing up on
a radio station play list, a bell ringing or the voice
of a friend on the other end of a phone signal peace
for others.

Still others find hope in the eyes of a baby or the
reassuring hug of a small child.

My sister and nephew rely on the feathered kind of
sign. A cardinal flying by or perched on a tree branch
speaks volumes to both of them during difficult or
confusing situations.

Whatever the method, you tend to look for these signs
in times of greatest need or distress. Or just times
when you need encouragement.

I’m no skeptic, mind you, when it comes to faith. I
just sometimes have a difficult time putting my trust
into it wholeheartedly. With this in mind, it would
come as no surprise that I don’t have a specific
object that I tend to look for as a sign of
reassurance. For me, it has to be unusual things
showing up in common places to get my attention.

Take a recent Sunday night for example.

Unable to make myself go to bed at a decent time, I
decided at around 11:30 p.m. that I needed to take the
trash outside. Some folks might think that time of
night is an unusual time to traipse outside,
sockfooted and trash bag in hand. Forcing the plastic
bag into the already stuffed receptacle, I noticed
some nearby neighbors had put up new holiday lights.
Taking a brief moment to enjoy the flickering bulbs, I
suddenly realized how brightly the natural lights were
shining in the clear, crisp sky.

Scanning the stars, I attempted to locate the few
constellations that I knew when suddenly, and without
any warning, a light streaked across the sky toward
the west.

Stunned, I held my breath for a split second. Finally
coming to my senses, I quickly made a wish. I won’t
give away the contents of my wish, just in case that
might really jinx its ability to come true, but it was
pretty much an open-ended one.

Trying to not be selfish in the midst of the season of
giving, and sensing there might not be another
shooting star pass my way anytime soon, I made sure my
wish included some of those I consider near and dear.

One part of the wish I will share, though, because it
has already come true in a sense. In the season where
the hustle and bustle tries to overtake the real
meaning of the celebration, I stood on my driveway and
wished for peace on Earth.

Granted that wish hasn’t totally come true around the
globe as wars still rage in distant lands.

But I will take that one shooting star as a sign of
the possibility of peace.

Just as the lyrics to a song I learned as a small
child goes, peace has begun with me for it has sprung
eternal within my heart. I determined that clear, calm
night that no matter how bleak things seemed around
me, I was going to look for a sign of light within the
situation and focus on that positive source.

From now on, too, I will look for those shooting stars
at unusual times to indicate the continuation of the
process of peace throughout the world. I don’t think
it’s impossible to achieve at all. Especially if we
start from within.