Star Trails – We are Made of Starstuff

Star Trails: We Are Made of Starstuff

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

Photo Credit: Rod Schaefer (Rod owns the copyright and may be contacted to purchase prints.

There's something powerful inside us that is meant to glow in the dark. I don't believe we're simply meant to "grin and bear it" when bad things happen, like kids who hide under the covers when something scary makes a noise in the dark. We are meant to shine, to shimmer, and to glow… to chase away the Dark.

The dark is rising all over the globe, and it seems to be touching more and more of my friends and family. This morning I discovered one friend's house burned down (they escaped, unharmed), and this past week another friend lost a baby. Does it seem to you like it's been very intense lately?

Today is "9/11" and as a nation we recall the time of great darkness that descended just 12-years ago. More than likely you remember exactly where you were at the moment the Twin Towers went down. On 9/11, shortly after the first wave of shock, my husband came home. In sociopathic fashion, he said to me, "Sue, I just wish more people had died. I wanted to see more blood and gore on the news coverage." And then he apologized, saying he didn't know how to control those types of thoughts. I didn't understand either. Maybe we're not supposed to understand, because evil is irrational, whether on a national level or right in your own home.

It is dark in this world. Could it be our BEST time to shine, shimmer, and glow? We are all created, like stars, to shine, shimmer, and glow. (Zechariah 9:16) In fact, we are made of starstuff.

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” — Carl Sagan

I believe we're living in the most exciting time in earth's history. It's darkest before dawn, but dawn is just around the corner. It's a time of great awakening. I believe we are seeing signs of this all around us, even in the remotest places of the world.

By the way, the photos in this article were taken at "Poker Jim" watch tower… a magical place where one lucky man gets to live in a watch tower, kind of like a sophisticated tree fort, overlooking the panoramic Eastern Montana forests. From his watch tower, Ranger Rod Schaefer spots lightning strikes within a 30-miles radius, functioning as a first responder for forest fires, alerting the fire teams.

I was able to visit this place when "Shakespeare in the Park" was setting up, just below the watch tower… a place hidden away in the wilderness near Birney, Montana!

  

"When our children were little, we had long bedtimes, stories, songs, prayers. And when things happened which were hard for us to comprehend like a sudden and unexpected death, I would pile the children into the station wagon and drive up to the top of Mohawk Mountain, to the fire-lookout tower, and we would lie on the great, flat glacial rocks and watch the stars come out, and talk about whatever it was that had shocked or hurt us. I'm not sure where the idea came from that all of creation is God's body, bt if we must have an analogy, it is not a bad one."

"When I look at the stars to help me find perspective, I am seeking an alternate reality,, one which is deeper and more real than the world of immediate consciousness…. We have strayed far from the reality of those peoples of the world who live close to the land, who listen to the language of the birds, the singing of the trees, the message of the clouds in the sky. Our loss. – Madeleine L'Engle in "And It Was Good"

  

"The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship." – Psalm 19:1

Do you see the star trails circling around the North Star, in the photo on the right? At any spot on the globe, you can do the same thing with time lapse photography, and it illustrates the concept (I believe) that we are each in the center of the universe. Just imagine, all these stars are traveling around you!

Thomas Mann has written, "The world has many centers, one for each created being, and about each one lies his own circle. You stand but half an ell from me, and yet about you lies a universe whose center I am not, but you are … And I, on the other hand, stand in the center of mine. For our universes are not far from each other so that they do not touch; rather, God has pushed them and interwoven them deep within each other."

The same watch tower: the left is a daytime view; the right is a nightime view. To me, it seems that "magical" is what happens at night! We are designed for "magic". Magic, to me, is that place just beyond our imagination and way beyond our human comprehension.

The daytime photo of the watch tower, that I took while visiting Poker Jim for a Shakespeare play in the park, is pretty understandable. You climb up inside and the panoramic view of the countrside is astonishing! The equipment inside the tower is understandable… it's a way to track forest fires.

The nighttime photo, taken by Rod Schaeffer, is magical. He set his camera to focus on the North Star, which doesn't move. And he set his camera to capture photos every few minutes and then put it through software to create the final effect, capturing the "star trails", how they rotate around the North Star.

Isn't it wonderful? The sense of wonder – like a prayer – draws us closer to our Creator.

If it weren't for the Dark we would never get to see the moon and the stars. And so it is with Today's events. Whether it's war in Syria, a friend's house burning down, a child who is in pain, or you feel like you're in a free fall and there's no relief in sight… it may not seem like it, but it's the BEST time on planet earth!

It's our time to shine.

It doesn't take much. The light in the watchtower? Can you guess what is burning in the tower, to make it glow? It's a simple pen light. A little tiny thing.

Light in the darkness only needs a tiny thing. A phone call, a hug, a note, a smile, an invitation to dinner, a few dollars sent, a simple "like" on Facebook, an "I love you," or any of a million ways to shine today. The darker it is, the more your light is making a difference. Try giving away what you really need the most!

Think little. Little things, well done, go a long way. Think big. You're more powerful than you know. You're created by the One who made you in His image, and He is Light. Darkness flees at the sound of His Name.

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." – Matthew 5:16

Let's shine today, in remembrance of 9/11. Let's shine today, in opposition to our inclination to cover our eyes and ears to live in fear. Let's shine today, knowing that as each of us does our little part, soon the whole earth will be filled with the Glory of God, as the waters cover the earth.

You're a star, you know!

All my love,

Sue

PS  Thanks to Rod Schaefer and his three photos of the Star Trails use with his permission in this article. If you are interested in purchasing a print, Rod may be contacted to purchase prints.

You may also be interested in "The Princess Warrior Prayer"it's a way to help shift your mindset and to "turn the Light on" 🙂

Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate her way out of hell to a rich and satisfying life. In her lifetime, Susan has served in duties ranging from home school mom – to pastor –  to full-time deliverance minister – and to Midwest regional prayer coordinator for a large international ministry. These days you can usually find Susan soaking in her favorite hot springs pool, reading a book (or several), blogging, baking bread, or hanging out with her family and friends. You can get a free copy of Susan's upcoming book, "On the Way Home" by registering here.

Copyright 2012, Susan Schiller, http://TeamFamilyOnline.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline and bio, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn Hughes September 13, 2013 at 11:32 am

Beautiful photos Susan. They remind me of how amazing God's creation is. But as you point out we are living in dark times and we do all need to shine for God and bring some light.

Imagine the light if everyone shined as brightly as you! 🙂

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Susan Schiller September 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm

It’s always good to see you, Carolyn. I think of you so very often. Your story – your family – your life is a huge beacom of hope in the dark storms of life.

Yes, I do want to imagine all of the little people – the ones who think their lives don’t amount to much, who believe they aren’t doing anything much of importance here…. I want to imagine those people – me included – shining our little lights of faith, hope, and love! I believe that is where real change takes place in our world. It’s not so much with the “big” people but with all the “little” people.

I could just be an idealist. 🙂 But I believe it’s true.

All my love to you, Carolyn – thanks! 🙂

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marvia September 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm

It's always good to remember.  To think over all that has happened.  Through loss and even good, God is faithful. It's so good to remember that God is our comfort even when life is outta control.  To be absent from the body is to be present with Christ. But here on earth, I take heart because I know He is with me.  None of us is alone.

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Susan Schiller September 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Hi Marvia 🙂

I think of the disciples feeling lost at sea, ready to go down with their ship in the chaotic waves… and there goes Jesus walking on top of the water, on a substance He has no business mastering, or so we would think.

I rebuked his friends because after all the miracles they had seen, and after all the teachings they had heard, they still didn’t get it – that we really are to master our circumstances. I’m challenging myself to rise up, to master my circumstances… because a lot of my suffering was due to ignorance and not taking personal responsibility for changing my situation.

With God’s grace, mercy, and help I plan to spend the rest of my life enjoying the abundant life Jesus promised. I value and treasure the times of sorrow and suffering, for they are teachers who have made the most impact in my life, but I don’t want to graduate!

Does that make sense?

I totally agree with you, that we are never alone. Just imagine if we were…. oh dear!

Thanks for stopping by and reading, Marvia… may God fill your deep well with fresh, living water till it overflows and makes you laugh with joy…. xxxoooxxx

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Susan Schiller September 12, 2013 at 11:09 am

Madeleine L'Engle, 20-years ago, in her book "And It Was Good" speaks into this situation with penetrating, provocative words:

"If we accept that God is within each of us, then God will give us, within us, the courage to accept the responsibility of being co-creators.

We live in a world which has become too complex to unravel; there is nothing we can do about it, we little people who don't have big government posts or positions of importance. But I believe that the Kingdom is built on the little things that all of us do….

This power is available to all of us. Indeed, with everything we do, we either use or reject it, for we do nothing in isolation. As the physicists who study the microcosm are discovering, nothing happens in isolation; nothing exists in isolation. Quanta, the tiny subatomic particles being studied in quantum mechanics, cannot exist alone; there cannot be a quantum, for quanta exist only in relationship to each other. And they can never be studied objectively, because even to observe them is to change them. And, like the tars they appear to be able to communicate with each other without sound or speech;

there is neither speech nor language; but their voices are heard among them,

sings the psalmist.

Surely what is true of quanta is true of the creation; it is true of quarks, it is true of human beings. We do not exist in isolation. We are part of a vast web of relationships and interrelationships which sing themselves in the ancient harmonies. Nor can we be studied objectively, because to look at us is to change us. And for us to look at anything is to change not only what we are looking at, but ourselves, too.

…We do not love each other without changing each other. We do not observe the world around us without in some way changing it, and being changed ourselves. To listen to the news on radio or television is to be part of what is going on, and to be modified by it. But how on earth – or heaven – can that be reciprocal? We are changed by war and rumour of war, but how can we in turn change what changes us?"

Madeleine's words affirm to me that the little things make the difference. She shares her experience of being anxious about the war in the Falklands… and so she went out to plant onions in her garden. She took time to smell the pungent soil and to listen to the birds.

To plant onions and to watch the robins mate, was her act of faith – of believing – that God is still holding the world together.

Maybe that is one thing I can do today, to push the fear back…

I can sit in the sun and watch the bees pollinating my sunflowers. They just keep working toward the future, believing their work is good… that God is good… that this world He created is good.

And I'm a co-creator with Him! I want to envision this planet the way He dreamed it would be. And I will do my little bit today, to work toward fulfilling that dream, as His partner.

 

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