When I was 16, I found hope in the night sky. I was at a park with friends and I wandered off by myself to an open prairie meadow. I sat down in the tall grasses and looked up at the sky just in time to see a falling star. I felt safe in that moment, like I wasn’t alone. Then a second falling star streaked by and I felt joy through a sense of gratitude for happening upon this moment. As the tail of that one disappeared, a third shooting star appeared, this one bigger than the others, blazing through the sky all the way to the horizon. As it faded, I felt hope. It was a hope I had never known before — this universe was more beautiful and mysterious than I had ever imagined. It was like I had received a message: You are not alone, be grateful, there is hope. Three falling stars became my symbol and I began to wonder in new ways about what was “up there” as I considered what I was learning in science classes and in church.

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