Joyce Rupp | Following the Star
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Following the Star

Several years ago, three occurrences shaped my entrance into the new year. The first happened at our women’s weekly gathering. The facilitator that day asked us: “What Star are you following? Toward what positive purpose are you being led? What motivates you as you go about your life each day?” I pondered those questions during the week, hoping a new year’s focus might come for me. No answer arrived. Then the next event occurred at the following week’s gathering.

It was my turn to lead the group. I focused our theme around Marian Head’s list of “Revolutionary Agreements” based on truth, acceptance, and gratitude. ( As we sat quietly reflecting on which one might be our “Star” or focal point for the coming year, the one that began to shine for me was “I agree to see the best in myself and others.” This emerged as I thought about the past year, recognizing how I’d grown careless with my mental approach to others and allowed way too many false judgments or off-center conclusions to clamber into my mind. I sensed a need to look for goodness rather than falseness. So, that was the Star I chose to follow: “one that would lead me to look for the good and believe it is there, especially during times when I am disappointed with myself or others. This includes people I know, as well as humanity in general.”

After coming to an awareness of my year’s focus, the third movement toward viewing the Star came about while reading a page in The Heart of God by one of my most beloved poets, Rabindranath Tagore. A verse of his furthered clarified what Star I was to follow and how to assure that this remained a firm commitment of mine. Tagore writes in

When all the strings of my life will be tuned,

then at every touch of Yours

will come out the music of love.

“Ah,” I thought, “just like a musical instrument, the strings of my focus for the new year will need to be regularly tuned. This means remembering the Star and not letting my good intention slip away after a few weeks. I can’t expect to see the best in myself and others during the coming months without some daily effort and deliberate awareness on my part.” I knew that I would need to constantly recall that Star and return to my view of it if I intended to follow and have it become a genuine part of my living. And here’s the beautiful part about the Star that was to guide my year: “the music of love” would come forth if I kept “the strings” of my focus tuned. Love is what it’s all about, not simply a decision to do something, but to create something of value.

So, how about you? What Star might you be following in the new year? What motivates you to turn your life further into “the music of love?” If you have not already discovered the focal point inviting you to a central purpose this year, find a space of solitude and silence and let the Maker of Stars lead you to one. I hope it happens for you soon.

©2018 Joyce Rupp