following the star


 (The wise men set out) and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. (Matthew 2:9-12, NRSV)

As I have contemplated my “word for the year” (following the 12-day retreat with Christine Valters Paintner — see blog dated 12/30/18), I was immediately drawn to the word “wild.” This word has been living in me for 2-3 months, inviting me to a free, reverent, and more holistic way of living, exploring, playing, loving.

In her book “Braving the Wilderness” Brene Brown writes:

“The mark of a wild heart is living out the paradox of love in our lives. It’s the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid—all in the same moment. It’s showing up in our vulnerability and our courage, being both fierce and kind….  You reach deep into your wild heart and remind yourself, “I am the wilderness.”

This is very close to what I am seeking.

“Wild” has been appearing to me in so many ways – I won’t take time now to detail all of them. But during this time, I found this quote by Jonny Ox which particularly grabbed my attention:

“Don’t let the tamed ones tell you how to live.” 

The time has come to follow the star (planted in us by God). Certainly there is a time for seeking advice of others. But remember the wise men asking Herod where to find the “King of the Jews”: we need to be wise about who we look to for advice and wisdom. For me, the “tamed ones” are people who have compromised and/or limited their own journeys in order to feel safe and fit in with the expectations of others (which we all do to some degree at different times). Usually these “tamed” people will want us to do the same thing. They are often well-meaning. And perhaps for a while, it is the understandable choice. But now — in my mid 60’s — I feel ready to follow the star of the unique journey God has given to me.

Yesterday, as I followed a guided meditation led by Christine Valters Paintner, I was invited to imagine St. Brigid of Kildare handing me a gift. It was easy for me to imagine  St. Brigid: dressed in a deep green gown, her head covered by a simple scarf, with long, red, curly hair escaping wildly below. As I held out my hands, Brigid placed a compass in them. I really didn’t want a compass, and I thought I would ask her for a different gift :)… but as I looked more closely, the compass became a star, which felt mysterious, exciting and perfect. I also noticed the compass-star was a locket, which I could slip over my head and wear close to my heart. I knew that I could trust this star to guide me on this wild journey – which feels new, and yet, familiar. I believe I have always been a “wild child” but was not able to live out this truth as fully as I can now — which is total gift – and total blessing.

Perhaps as you listen to the music in this video, you might consider your own star, and what you are seeking in this season of your life.


Blessings on this journey we share, seeking the star — leading us to Love.



images from Flickr:

above: Star of Bethlehem, Magi – wise men or wise kings travel on camels with entourage across the deserts to find the savior — Holy Bible, Etching, 1885

below: The Star of Bethlehem by Edward Burne-Jones

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