More than 250 miles from the city, I look up at the night sky on the longest night of the year. The stars are brilliant even if they grow faint soon enough. This is Ohio, my field of stars just as Chicago is my Rome and my Paris. It is also Bethlehem just as Chicago is Jerusalem. Here I’m often among the stars, the ones in heaven and those on earth. I think of the ones who walk the earth. Each visit I make a point to again be in their presence.

This place is no longer mine in the greater sense of the word, but its changing story also gives me a consistency. Here is the place I learned the beautiful grace of love was to be tempered by the awful grace of wisdom. Ohio had taught me well and I return there from a sense of the obligation that comes from the presence of the stars. This is the place of stars. Not the ones in the sky above, real ones, but not the greatest star.

In my little town, or in the rural reaches just beyond it, I gaze at the night sky on the longest night of the year. I think of the flickering lights and how they are not like my stars. They will burn a long time. Long after I and all those I know become dust and the geography I stand on belong to no one other than God and the remains of the earth, they would change only a little.

Unlike those that are above me, my stars change and had done so already. They had been permitted their brilliance, but it is a brilliance called to fade, if only for a little while. In time the stars in the heavens would fade too. In that time, the stars I knew would be brilliant again and would never fade.

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