May 1, 2007

Reflections from years past

by Will Mayer, Opinion Writer
The sun was crafted to guide our eyes by day, and the moon our eyes by night, but the stars seem to have guided man’s heart since the first clear night sky was drawn in the heavens. Men looked to the sky for the sign of our coming Savior, and sailors have spent long nights on the open sea with nothing but the stars to guide their way, and generations of mankind, men have searched the sky, wondering at the possibilities of other planets like our own.

There is something inspiring about those minute blazing lights against the darkness that can stir one’s mind and move one’s spirit.

As a child I spent my summers in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, and I’ve never been closer to the stars before or since. Like many children, I attended a summer camp for one week out of every year, and when I was old enough I volunteered at the same camp so I could stay for two, but it was never long enough.

The fact that every week felt like a separate lifetime didn’t make me long for home but made me fear the death of that life. I recall each evening when I put out the campfire, watching the last flames sputter and die but not mourning the darkness because of the starlight that took the flame’s place.

When you are in an environment like that, away from outside influence, away from family, and away from all the aspects of your life with which you have surrounded yourself either by circumstance or choice, you develop relationships at an accelerated rate. Reflecting on it, I find it hard to believe that I miss some of the people from that place more than I miss family who have passed away.

It is not that I did not or do not love my family, but just that the influence of the world surrounds me and taints the interaction. Some people say that tainting is a part of who we are — that the way a person responds to his surroundings is the picture of his character.

I don’t believe that.

There is something to be said for a person’s response showing his inner workings, or that a trial is the true test of character.

I might not be able to defeat the argument that anyone can seem a wonderful person outside of the influences in their sphere of living.

That isn’t the point. The point is that in that world, the world where you have the time to stop and listen, the world where you build your second lifetime, you can know that peace is at least within you. That is a comforting thought to me.

As a married college student, it is often hard to balance the aspects of everyday life. Simply finding time to attend classes, to finish assignments, to work enough to pay the bills, and keep up with things at home taxes my will every week, if not every day.

I have not had time for that peace.

 have not had the pleasure of a relationship untainted by the restrictions of time or stress. I think that is why I miss the people of that summer life so much.

I only really mean to ask one thing so simple about our worlds that never stop, with our cities so proud of never sleeping. I can’t see the stars from where I live — can you?

Contact Will Mayer at swmayer@liberty.edu.
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