I'm not exactly sure what woke me up at 3am, maybe an icicle falling off the roof, no matter whatever it was it ensured I was wide awake.
I got up from my cosy bed and opened the curtains to look out on the silent night. On seeing the black night sky I actually said out loud, "Wow!" The stars were so, so bright it was if the noise that had woken me was my house moving closer for a better look , and maybe a twinkle just tapped my bedroom window as it passed by.
I kept my curtains open and crawled back to bed, just staring in awe at the mass of beauty that hides during daylight hours and only displays itself when we disappear in to a dream state. Ironic I thought, what could be more dream like than the view I was looking at wide awake from my bed?
The longer I stared at the more brazen, bright stars the more I began to notice the less bold, shy one's hiding behind the shadowy glare of the brighter ones. A few clusters here, a solitary one there. Bit by bit the night sky seemed to be more willing to show me all the stars one by one, maybe it knew I was in awe, respectful of what I could see, not trivialising it but feeling humbled in fact by its vastness. Sometimes the "quieter" stars would only catch my eye for a second, but if I looked straight at it it seemed to disappear again.
I lay there wondering if those stars were still in existence today. All those light years away and though it may have already died many, many years ago, at that moment I was still experiencing it's beauty.
The night sky has always intrigued and fascinated me and I remember as a very young girl my Dad trying to explain the idea that some of the stars I could see weren't really there anymore. For a nine year old, that was quite something to get a handle on! Dad said, "It's like this, if you could fly up to that star now and you had a great pair of binoculars to look back down to earth you might be able to watch the Battle of Hastings in 1066 happening right before your eyes!" Let me tell you, I might have nodded knowledgeably giving the impression it all made sense, but believe me, it took years for me to understand what he meant! Good old Dad!
The stars remind me that we can all shine. Long after we have left this world we can leave a lasting memory. Some people will leap into your head when perhaps you're reminded of famous activists fighting for the underdog, or someone like Mildred Norman Ryder who for 28 years walked across America on a personal pilgrimage for peace. But what about the neighbour who clears the snow from his elderly neighbours drive, checking that he has enough food and isn't in need as winter weather closes in? Certainly a shining star for the vulnerable person he has quietly helped.
Artists of all varieties can leave their creativity and material legacy for others to appreciate for evermore. However, the bright light you leave doesn't have to be tangible. Kindness shines and touches others for many lifetimes.
Be still and let yourself feel what it is you'd like to do, or let yourself remember what you've done already to leave that sparkle for others to appreciate.
"A life lived with integrity - even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune is a shining star in whose light others may follow in the years to come." - Denis Waitley