Perhaps my being in the downslope of my 40s has infused me with a bit of longing for things past. But I suspect it is more a touch of wisdom that comes with the years. I made contact with a few old friends on facebook recently. This, of course, is not unusual. Most of us have rediscovered lost acquaintances thanks to the miracle that is social media. But of those that we have reconnected with, there are probably only a handful that stir what I like to call the milestone memories.
What I find odd is that these memories are rarely related to a momentous occasion, like your wedding or birth of a child. In fact, the memories I hold of my wife may seem abstract to anyone who could peer into my mind. I can more vividly recall the image of my bride-to-be answering her door, hair tied back in a ponytail, ready for housecleaning, than I can remember any single moment on our honeymoon.
I think it is because these are the moments that change our hearts. Where a tumbler clicks into place. At the altar, my bride looking more beautiful than I could imagine, my heart had already made the choice that I was about to voice publicly. In a way, this is as it should be. The heart-changing moments should be more private. After all, you’ve changed, maybe dramatically. This is not for public display. These moments are so life-altering that, if I had never seen Kelly after that day she answered the door in her ponytail, it would still remain firmly entrenched in my mind, and my heart. You cannot turn back once you’ve passed one of these heart-changing moments. You are a new person. The rest of your life has been impacted by that moment.
Even people who have long since disappeared from my life hold a prominent place in my catalogue of memories. Some may not even realize that they’ve altered your life. A teacher in Junior High who said you were a darn good writer. A Navy buddy who surprised you with meaningful conversation during a late night watch. The first young lady who, to your shock, smiled at you in a way that made you realize that you may just be a not-so-bad catch.
They pass through our lives quickly, most of these moments and most of these people. Like shooting stars. They leave a piece of themselves behind. All we can do is grab on to that tiny fragment and hold it like a precious jewel. Some, of course, stick around. We marry them and produce more little shooting stars that leave a piece of themselves behind.
Each will change us. Each will linger in our minds for our entire lives. The passing of time does nothing to dim the light of our stars. I sometimes wonder if these are sent into our lives by God’s hand. Even long before we’ve made the choice to follow Christ, He is sending His servants to direct our course.
Here is a thank you to all the shooting stars who have left their mark on me. Those who wandered in and out in a moment, a few days, a few months, or chose to stay. I may not be who I am without you.
May your life be rich with shooting stars who leave you a different person than when they arrived.