Naming the stars

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

thA dear friend recently walked us out under the night sky and asked if we ever named the stars. “What do you mean?” we asked, and he went on to point out stars that he had named for people close to him who had died. It struck Marti and me as a good way to remember our loved ones, and in some cases, mourn their loss. It gives a focus to our pain. God told Abraham his descendants would be like the stars in the heavens; obviously, this is not a new thought.

After showing us specific stars that had meaning to him, he pointed at the three stars of Orion’s belt and announced they were the triplets he had lost in his first marriage – a loss from which the marriage never recovered. He mentioned how he still hadn’t received any closure from that devastating death of three babies at birth. So he has the night sky to help him deal with it. There is pain in this, but there is also comfort. There is comfort in knowing they are with the Lord, and at least as valuable to Him as those stars. Those who mourn will be comforted.

We’ve had three miscarriages, and though we have named them, we haven’t given them stars. That’s a new idea. It’s a permanent reminder of a grief that is easy to forget. The verse doesn’t say, “Blessed are those who forget,” it says, “Blessed are those who mourn.”

It’s especially easy to forget babies without names – the results of miscarriages and abortions. The numbers of women who have had abortions is the same in and outside the church, which would lead you to assume that a lot of men and women, especially inside the church, have not had any closure over this. How many men and women are silently suffering losses they cannot talk about in light of the huge anti-abortion bias of many churches? This is a big tragedy, because church is the one place we should be receiving forgiveness and comfort, and yet in many churches it’s the one thing you can’t reveal.

And it’s important, as I have done here, to include women and men because, as we all know, it takes two to tango. Why is the woman so often the only one we talk about with abortion issues? Men are just as responsible for all those unnamed babies. Men just have an easier time compartmentalizing uncomfortable things away. That’s why they may need this exercise the most.

I suggest we all – men and women – walk out under the night sky tonight and start naming stars. Pick ones you can find easily so you can always turn to the sky and remember.

And then, be sure to mourn. This is the whole point, remember? Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

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6 Responses to Naming the stars

  1. That is awesome. My dad and my father-in-law would both be the North Star. Really miss their direction and guidance and care and just presence.

  2. Sue says:

    I love this! We have been sitting out on our deck at night enjoying the night sky and I have been thinking of my father and thinking of what his view is like now…so naming one after him and my other loved ones who I have lost will be so comforting! Thank you.

  3. Kin, says:

    Nice Catch, Thx

  4. Pete Ceren says:

    Very nice John, but the Orion picture is upside down fyi – at least from our perspective here

  5. Cynthia Vera says:

    Dear Marti and John,
    I mentioned this meeting we had in 1977 at Mt Hermon some years ago to you and I have been thinking about this for several days. My son Jason had just died, he rode his bike out into the street/no helmets back then. He was hit by a young girl who was driving slow/not her fault, a 1958 Buick. The next day I miscarried a baby, that I also named. We all talked at dinner and I remember Marti sharing with me. It was like two sisters in secret and I wish we would have had more time together. Grief wraps you like in bubble wrap , but you feel like everyone is pointing at you. It is hard to know what to do and people question, “how could God let this happen to you”? Attempts to try and explain sound forced. Every day people are filled with grief, we do comfort each other like when were at dinner together, and you still provide comfort for many. I like the idea of the stars, having a special one or more. I long for the day to be reunited, but also long for the salvation of those here. Thank you! Cynthia

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