Did You See That Shooting Star?!
I remember the first time I saw a shooting star. It was as if, in the moment, time stood still. I stand as a child looking up into space and this glorious body flashes before my eyes. Curious to know what it was, yet unable to turn away, I mumbled the words, “what is that?” “A shooting star”, someone proclaimed. Wow, a star that is actually prancing across the heavens. A star that wants the world to see its glory. A star that moves, even though I want to keep all of this brilliance to myself, it knows that its splendor can not be contained by one set of eyes but must be shared. It moves quickly because its majesty will only last for a short while. Yet, moving as quickly as possible so that in that short while, as many people as possible can be affected by its beauty. Wow!
Time goes on. I get older; smarter. The magnificent wonder of my youth is over shawdowed by science. A science that wants to take away the mystery and have an answer for everything. A science that wants to cast my wonder out the window and in its place put theory, variables, processes, data. This science informs me that this dancing star of my youth was nothing more than a façade, smoke and mirrors. It was nothing more than ordinary material; it wasn’t a star at all.
Shaken for a bit at the loss of the wonder of it all I sat quietly. “Ordinary material”, I thought. Not impressive at all.
Wait! If ordinary material has the ability to spark wonder, joy, excitement and majesty into the hearts of young and old people alike everywhere; what could I do? I’m ordinary. If ordinary material could bring more splendor in 10 seconds than what most material could do in a lifetime; what could I do? I’m ordinary.
So I told science to take a backseat. The goliath of science was defeated by the David of a kid’s wonder and amazement. Ordinary yet amazing. Shooting star ordinary!
It had been awhile since I saw a shooting star. Thinking to myself that this was a once in a lifetime experience. But then, one glorious day, I started working at PADS Lake County. Then, right before my eyes, something, rather someone, passed by and the emotion of my youth came back. So intrigued by what I saw yet unable to turn away I mumbled, “what is that?” Then I heard the voices of thousands of homeless people who had hope, then I heard the voices of the staff who had a role model as they all sang in unison, “that is Cathy Curran. She is a shooting star.”
Then, in a moment, all the meaning of that shooting star found its personification in her. Like that shooting star she danced across the canvas of our hearts. Like that shooting star all of PADS, all of North Chicago, all of Lake County saw a glimpse of her glory. Like that shooting star no one homeless individual could contain her generosity, it had to spread across Lake County so that every one who darkened her doorway left with the light of hope. I only knew her for a short while, but like that shooting star, she showed me more of what it meant to care for the homeless in 10 seconds than what many people have shown me in a lifetime. Blazing brilliance in our sights, and now gone.
So, when life continues and people speak of Cathy Curran in an “ordinary” way; don’t be so quick to dissagree. Because you and I know a secret. Yes, she may have been ordinary, but she was shooting star ordinary.