The Old Astronomer

the starry night

It is a beautiful privilege to be someone’s confidant.

Many people may share in our joys, but only a few know the depths of our grief. This is as it should be, for only a few can be trusted with the secrets we’ve held under lock and key.

Over the years, some of the dearest people have come to me with their joys and heartaches. When you are considered trustworthy, you learn so much about yourself and those around you.

Every one of us is fragile. We fight desperately for hope, but we can break so easily.

Recently, two people I love dearly confided in me. They told me their separate burdens and it soon became apparent, these dear ones are breaking inside.

I know the heartache I feel for them is only a fraction of the pain they are going through. I have my own share of sorrow, but sometimes I think it is nothing compared to the secrets I’ve been told. None of us are alone in our hurt. We stumble and fall, and sometimes terrible things happen. We all have a few skeletons in the closet, threatening to kick the door down.

It is difficult to know the right thing to say when someone reveals their troubles. At first, I think it is best to keep quiet and listen. Then, if the time comes, a few words spoken in love and humility may be offered as a small remedy. This is my offering to you.

There is a poem written by Sarah Williams called “The Old Astronomer”. It is the final goodbye, the last words of encouragement between the astronomer and his pupil:

Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

There are times when the whole world seems cold, and you don’t understand why things happen. Midnight covers the soul, and you tightly clutch all of your fragile pieces close, praying you don’t fall apart completely. I must confess, I have seen this darkness. It tends to linger, until you are almost afraid it is here to stay.

But, scattered across the face of the cold night sky, heavenly lights flicker. Each luminous sphere whispering a promise, His kingdom is not so far away.

God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.

This is the only comfort I know, dear ones. The truth we may reach for in our darkest hour.
There are no starless nights for the soul who belongs to Christ.

The Old Astronomer by Sarah Williams:
The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh: 


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