Porch Swing Point of View: Count The Stars


Ah yes, those clear summer nights have finally arrived. And fortunate enough are we in rural West Virginia to be able to gaze up into the night sky at the breathtaking kaleidoscope of stars with ease. Science was never my strong suit, but I have always been amazed that as I look up at the darkened sky on a clear night, it seems with a little effort and a few more fingers and toes, I might even be able to count the stars in the sky. However, in reality, the astronomers tell us there are actually about 2,000 stars visible in the sky to a particular area at a given time—much more than I’m prepared to count! But, ask that same astronomer how many stars exist in our entire galaxy and the answer will come in billions. We could spend our life counting and never number them all. The 2,000 begins to pale in comparison!

Turn on the news , read a paper, or listen to the radio reports at the top of the hour for any a m o u n t of time and you’ll no doubt w a l k a w a y w i t h a very bleak picture of our world—a picture not unlike the utter darkness of a cloudy night: no moon, no stars, no illumination to light our way. But, if you look for points of light in our world, you can still find them. Someone driving a friend to an appointment, a neighbor mowing your lawn, a volunteer providing a meal for one hungry, or a family member sitting down over a cup of coffee with a listening ear. Yes, there do exist bright spots in our world , but you may suppose, just as I did of the stars, that they are few enough in number to be able to count.

So, I suggest you do just that. Count the bright spots in a dismal world, those who seek to do good—the stars of the night sky. I think you will be reaching for your calculator before long. You’ll soon realize there are far more than you anticipated.

Now, imagine with me, if you will, that those examples of good you’ve counted can be seen in communities like ours all over the globe. You can begin to understand that, like the stars, though we seem to see few, the do-gooders are actually vast in number. It can be convenient to take a cynical view and say that evil has overtaken our society, and on particularly grim occasions, such as those starless nights, evil can seem to have taken a firm hold, but on those same nights, someone, somewhere is gazing upon a sky illuminated brilliantly with stars, shining, bringing peace and comfort to a world in need.

Take a look outside some clear evening this summer and try to count the stars, then take a look in your family, your neighborhood, your community, and try to count those stars as well—the bright spots, those doing good for our society. Not only count the stars, but be one, and know that they far outnumber our greatest imaginations.

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