Choose to Twinkle

About a year ago, Neil DeGrasse Tyson was a guest on CBS This Morning. This man should be every child’s teacher, because he has a way of making science fascinating.

One of the things he discussed was the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). He shared that this telescope is so much more powerful than the Hubble Telescope, that it will be able to “see earlier in the universe than ever before.”

The JWST website explains that “The longer wavelengths enable JWST to look much closer to the beginning of time and to hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies, as well as to look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.”

I guess because I’ve never taken an astronomy course, I never before thought about the fact that, when we look up at the sky in the present, those stars are so many light years away that by the time their light reaches us, we are looking back in time.  Some of those stars and planets may no longer even exist.

I began to think about this concept in relation to people.

When you meet an individual, you’re seeing the person he or she is today. But in reality, that individual is a culmination of all that has come before…all the people he or she has ever known, all his or her past learning and experiences – good and bad – even all of the decisions and actions of his or her ancestors.

The next time you look out across a crowd of people at a festival or a concert, think about how similar it is to gazing up at the stars at night. At first observation, it’s simply a sea of people, or a sea of stars. But think about how that vision holds the key to so many amazing secrets of the past!
Now, think about yourself. It’s easy to see your past when you look in the  mirror each morning. Maybe you have your father’s hair or your mother’s perseverance. I know I have my grandmother’s body type and my grandfather’s creativity. I see persistent resilience and a complexion that burns, inherited from British Isle ancestors who came over on the Mayflower.

The thing about the person you’re seeing today is, tomorrow this person will be someone slightly different, molded by the experiences of today. Recognize that you have some control over what those experiences will be, what you’ll do today and how you’ll enrich your own life and those around you. Today, you can choose whether your light will fade a bit, or shine a bit brighter tomorrow. I recommend you choose to twinkle.


Written as Editor of the newsletter and published in the May 4, 2017 issue of the newsletter.

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