I used to love looking up at the night sky as a child. I loved looking up at the moon and the stars. Some of these celestial bodies seemed fixed in the sky. I knew that Polaris, the North Star, would show me where North was. The constellations and planets would move slowly during the year. The moon rose each night in the east and set in the west. In a way it was quite comforting. With a few minor adjustments due to orbits, the sky would look very similar each night.
Occasionally though, something different would happen. Planets would align and seem even brighter. There might be eclipses of the moon or of the sun. Comets might pay visits (some regular, some irregular). When these eye catching events happen, many will look up at the sky to watch it. Many for instance woke up early Saturday morning (Australia time) to see the blood moon. To some such events are magical. For others, these cosmic events inspire fear. A few people predicted that the world would end with the last lunar eclipse. Ancients used to fear that the sun was being swallowed up in a solar eclipse. Comets were harbingers of doom throughout the ages.
For the most part, such events in the sky are predictable. Astronomers know when an eclipse will happen. They know the exact moment the sun crosses the equator and spring becomes summer. Halley's comet comes every 75-76 years. Some things are not quite predictable. Take solar flares and sunspots. We don't know when they will appear. On earth we may be able to predict the tides and temperatures each day, but things like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions still surprise us. But for the most part our natural world follows a pattern.
In thinking about the natural world, I think how it mirrors life. Many things in life are quite predictable. When something bad happens to me, I know which friends I can go talk to in order to find comfort. When I want to enjoy music, I know which of my friends love the same songs I like. I also know which of my friends will tell me like it is when I need to hear difficult words. Much of life is like the predictability of the stars. Things are where I expect to find them.
But occasionally, things aren't quite like I expect. I might receive support from an unexpected source. Someone, who I seem to have so little in common with otherwise, surprisingly thinks just like I do on a subject. Someone who I have relied on throughout my life disappointingly lets me down. Surprises do come to upset the apple cart every now and then. It all depends on how I approach these surprises. I could think about them as the end of the world like those who see eclipses as signs of the end. Or I could see these surprises as something which keeps life interesting. I think I will choose the latter. Life does go in patterns, but every once in a while there is a detour which catches us unawares. Blessings.
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