We are made of star stuff. ~ Carl Sagan
There is a peace that is easily found on a moonless night. I can stare endlessly into the endless night and count the countless stars. I can find one star and be lost in how simply vast that one alone is. I can stare at the space around it and wonder how that lone star, with its own light, hides those in front of it or behind it, whether it is brighter than a million others, or just nearer. There are a million answers in the million questions that the stars fling recklessly through your mind. There is peace in the questions they stir. There is a peace in their answer.
The real magic in the stars is in their independence. The stars are free as we never are, but that is only because we don’t know them. Certainly, I could, but I will not take poetic license and say they are independent and unaffected by the universe, but what matters is that they are so separate from us. You will not change the stars. At the same time, from their own perspective, they are free in other ways.
From a physics point of view, direction is relative. Mathematicians will tell you the same thing. Military strategists will often agree as well. Sometimes, progress looks like regress. Often times, progress is just standing still. Have you ever watched the sun rise? I haven’t. I have only seen the horizon fall away from it and launch it into the heavens, only to catch up to it again in the evening and hold it warm through the night. Does the sun move or the horizon? Does the sun care, know or even notice if it rises in the east or the west?
The sun like her sister stars is free from up and down and east and west. She plots her own arc through time and space and we apply these words as if we ought to care. We are the stuff of stars. Do not take your guidance from them. When you count time and measure your years, measure it in the moments that matter to you. When you wonder if you are succeeding or failing, measure that in the goals that matter to you.
I have failed in many ways. Others look at me and tell me how I’ve succeeded at so many things. I am not a failure, by my own measure, but it doesn’t help to be a success by yours. I am a star, twinkling in the night and marking my own course through time and space. Sometimes I forget and feel like I am the rising sun and that a civilization somewhere will worship the way I light up their world. Sometimes I feel like the sun in ancient Egypt, settling in for a long night of battle aboard the barge. In these moments, please don’t remind me of the other side of the coin.
Remind me that I am “star stuff.” Remind me that I am free. Remember that you are too.