I believe in wishing upon a star.
In high school, I bean a ritual of looking outside my bedroom window each night, and making a wish upon the first star I saw. There was always a test or perceived adolescent trauma that could use a little help. This habit was one of my first attempts to find a connection with something larger than myself. Even though I didn’t really believe in the wishes’ effect, at some level I knew I was still better for doing it.
While in college the ritual faded away. In part, for no better reason than logistics, since I was on the opposite side of my small dorm room from the window. But when I returned home for vacations, I again took time to reflect on all that was occurring in my life. And made a focused wish for something new.
Labor Day of my sophomore year, I was called home after my Dad’s suicide. Shock, grief, sadness, and acceptance all were spinning around my head. That first evening home I looked out the window, and it just didn’t feel right to make a wish. I hadn’t necessarily lost my spiritual or religious beliefs, but I instinctively handled this tragedy by becoming more self-reliant, and less focused on hope and prayer.
Nearly 20 years has passed and thanks to gradual maturing, education, intermittent therapy and good family and friends, I’ve had a very successful and enriching life. Yet for much of that time, my juvenile wishfulness had disappeared, or at least was held on a tight leash.
A couple times a year I would ‘allow’ myself to look upward and ask for a little support. But it was always cautionary, and certainly never so childish as to directly wish upon a star. Although I was leading a good life, I was holding back, and not completely engaging in the joys, sorrow, or messiness of a truly full life.
Twenty months ago I was driving home from a great first date. When I had walked Karen to her door and kissed her cheek, it just felt different than anything before. As I drove home, I looked out and up at the sky, and without hesitation made my wish on the first star I saw. It came true. Karen and I are getting married later this year, and I’ve never felt so complete as an individual, as a member of my family and community, and as a partner for life.
Was it simply timing – that I rid the things holding me back precisely at the time Karen came into my life? I don’t believe that.
Are we soul mates – and once meeting Karen the hurdles that held me back simply melted away? I don’t really believe that.
Was it some magical mix of chemistry, openness to grow and a willingness to completely be myself with another person? That seems close. And if I add the magical abandonment of wishing upon a star to set me off kilter just enough to fully embrace new possibilities and adventures. Now that, I believe.
Star light, star bright, first start I see tonight. Wish I may, wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.
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