One of the most beautiful books I have read is Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace by Kent Nerburn (1999). In his introduction, Mr. Nerburn writes,
“There is a story told by some of the Native American people about the stars in the midnight sky. Each star, they say, is a hole pierced in the veil of heaven by souls that have died and the light that shines through is the light of God, the Great Spirit, the Great Mystery.”
In the final paragraph of his book, Mr. Nerburn concludes,
“When we pass, and our spirit ascends to pierce that one new hole in the midnight sky, we can be sure that the light of God will shine down a bit brighter on this earth. And that somewhere, sometime, one person, coming after us, will stand for a fleeting moment in the presence of that light and know, if only for that moment, that they, too, have been called to be an instrument of God’s peace.”
As our journey continues in the 49th year of our marriage, Mrs. tVM and I have settled in a small, desert community. Our home is on the extended flight path of the local airport known for its skydiving activity. As a pilot, the nearness to the airport gives me comfort, and we feed off of the energy of the few planes that operate from the airport; most carry skydivers, and we spend hours in the afternoon watching them return to earth with their paragliders. Nothing separates us from the airport but cotton fields.
The North Picacho Mountains rise in full view. The Sleeping Indian rests peacefully as he has for a million years and more.
We’ve abandoned our television in the evening and prefer to watch the stars and planets appear one by one. Light pollution is minimal. Jupiter appears first. An hour after sunset, the sky is filled with those countless ‘holes in the veil of heaven.’
Although I am re-learning my constellations, I see a story in each star, a story related to a soul who has pierced the heavens. That one is Billy Tate, a 14-year-old pony express rider. The one over there is a Greek helot who bore arms for a Spartan knight at Thermopylae. And that bright one there? That’s my father.
Mrs. tVM is babysitting this weekend, so Clarence and I sit alone looking for satellites and praying for those souls who have preceded us. Stargazing is the most calming activity I have ever engaged in.
I try to take pictures, but I don’t think I’ll ever figure out how to manually focus on the night sky. It’s not important.
Your soul may be burdened, and you may be weary, or you may be the happiest creature on the planet. It makes no difference. Take time to gaze at the night sky and acknowledge those who have preceded us regardless of the significance of the role they played during their time on Earth. Each was significant in his own way. You will find peace in your meditation.