Follow Your Star

Posted on 27 January 2010


Follow Your Star

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the East came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’” (Gospel of Saint Matthew)

  

We have all, during the courses of our lives, encountered “dreamers” – those with grand ideas and lofty goals, seemingly beyond the realm of the possible. Oft denigrated as naive or demented, “dreamers” are, in fact, the visionary architects of civilization’s progress, the catalysts without whom mankind might find itself residing in caves and cowering at Nature’s wrath.

 

Consider the Magi of the Nativity story. These men were astrologers, seekers of signs in the heavens heralding significant events on Earth. Their discovery of a new “star” led them on a strange and wondrous journey to do homage to a newborn King. Although not part of the story as written, we can only surmise the reaction of their friends and family members to their sudden departure in search of salvation. Undoubtedly, many whom they knew did not share their excitement nor dedication to the call of a mystical journey. Otherwise, their story would have included some mention of the throngs of others who accompanied them on their trip.

 

Nonetheless, the Magi were undeterred, embarking upon a lengthy and perilous journey guided only by a “star” and their collective belief in themselves and their mission. Like other “dreamers” throughout recorded history, the Magi armed themselves with the most formidable weapons imaginable – faith and certainty of hope – without which any mortal would succumb to his own doubts and fears. Also like many other “dreamers,” the Magi and their improbable story have become the stuff of legend. More than two millennia after their journey, we still tell their story.

 

What the Magi and other “dreamers” understood better than the rest of us is this simple fact: although the end is uncertain and perhaps unattainable, it is in its quest that we discover ourselves and tap into the hidden reservoirs of strength enabling us to both endure and continue our journey. The nineteenth century English poet, Arthur Hugh Clough expressed this conviction when he wrote:

 

SAY not the struggle naught availeth,

The labour and the wounds are vain,

The enemy faints not, nor faileth,

And as things have been they remain.

 

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;

It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,

Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,

And, but for you, possess the field.

 

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,

Seem here no painful inch to gain,

Far back, through creeks and inlets making,

Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

 

And not by eastern windows only,

When daylight comes, comes in the light;

In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!

But westward, look, the land is bright!

 

Perhaps, we should all be fortunate enough to have an all-consuming passion that drives us to achieve and, in so doing, remakes us into the kind of people that we aspire to become. If we could each assimilate but one piece of advice in our lifetimes, it should be this: “Follow Your Star!”





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