Amid the expanse of the starry sky last night, I felt lost, but only for a moment. I was surrounded my mountains and dear friends, but my place in the world has never been so blurred. Growing up is hard, and now I realize it’s not that no one told us that makes it difficult (though that certainly is true). It’s that we’ve come to believe it’s not hard, and when we finally take a crack at it, we meet more resistance than we thought was even available in the universe.
Work is difficult. Finances are difficult. Sustaining oneself is difficult. Love is difficult. Grocery shopping is really difficult. I could finish each of those sentences with two words: “at first.” The problem is that I’m not sure it gets any better. As my friend told me, “You think that something is going to change profoundly when you grow up, but it doesn’t. You just get more responsibility and deal with it, but inside, you’re the same as you’ve ever been.”
The amazing thing about that statement is that it implies that inside each of us is “the heart of the matter” and everything else is piled on top. It might crush us, but the same heart exists that was there when we were swinging on swing sets at the park and playing hide-and-go-seek in our grandparent’s house. It still burns and thumps and sings beneath all the layers.
Of course, I didn’t think about all this last night. I was too busy searching for my place in the stars. But there did come a point when I closed my eyes and tried listening to everything at the same time. I heard some interesting (and embarrassing) conversations happening between some people around me, I heard a small creek gurgle, I heard steps of heavy-footed people and people that drag their heels, I heard traffic in the street below. What I didn’t expect to hear, yet the most overwhelming sound of all, was the stars.
Yeah, I know, stars don’t make audible sounds to human ears, but I swear I heard them. The sound blanketed the entire landscape and drowned everything else out, even my own thinking.
And that’s when I realized I have a place among the stars.