We were stopped at a red light. The soccer fields next to me were dark, but I could the lights of the planes lining up to land at O’Hare Airport. Every time I see the twinkling of those artificial stars, I’m in awe. To think that hundreds of people are up in the sky, traveling here for business or pleasure or are just coming home, is amazing.
Straight ahead of us are all the lights of Lutheran General Hospital, with the cross shining at the tip-top of the building. My children were born there. The parking ramp is also glowing. I can even see a huge house across the field that is decorated with an abundance of Christmas lights.
I’m surrounded by artificial lights. As I sit in the car, Ed is in the driver’s seat waiting for the red light to turn green. I look up at the sky, wondering if I’ll see any stars. I don’t. Is it because of the clouds, or because the bright lights are shining too loudly to see any stars?
I’ve been to places where the lights don’t shine so bright. Where you can look up and see the stars in a dark night sky without the halo of the city ruining the view. Where I can see the Milky Way and it really does look like spilled milk. Where I can imagine Abraham being truly awestruck when his God told him his offspring would number the stars.
I’ve made my children stare into that space, that milky, twinkling space full of stars. We were at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and it was way past the girls’ bedtime. But I kept them up anyway. We stood in the middle of the courtyard by our cabin, tilted our heads back and simply gazed at the stars.
Back home, I teach them the rhyme: Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight. We strain our eyes to see that first star after the sun sets and twilight descends on the city.
The wishing star is very difficult to spot. We’ll try again tomorrow.
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