Another take on "the dust whereof we are made"
It's Ash Wednesday, and I went to church at noon today for the Imposition of Ashes. "Remember that you are dust," the priest told each one of us, "And to dust you shall return."
"Star dust!" I thought. I had written the following in my blog about a month ago. I didn't make the connection with Ash Wednesday until today. Ash Wednesday will never be the same for me!
STAR STUFF AND STARLIGHT
Scientist Carl Sagan said, "We are made of star stuff." I love that. I've loved the idea since I first heard it, some years ago.
Well, it makes sense. What else would we be made of but the basic elements that make up the universe? We are a part of creation, and actually, a pretty insignificant part. We're vastly outnumbered by the insects, outsized by many mammals, reptiles and fish, raced into the ground by so many swift creatures that we can't count them, and we can't hold a candle to the beauty of a common violet sprung up in the back yard.
It's laughable when we humans see ourselves as the "crowning glory" of creation. I wonder if it's not more likely that we were an afterthought. But there is something special about us human animals, more special than our handy opposable thumbs, more impressive than our skills with language. I think it's that we have a unique capacity for compassion. We can extend ourselves beyond self, for the good of another. We have that innate lightness of heart and soul that is an inborn gift, not dependent on one's age, abilities, wealth or status.
Most of what I read about Sagan's "star stuff" was way over my head, but I came upon a description of DNA as giving off light, and shedding more light when it was unwound.
The author describes that swirl of light as functioning as a "tuning fork" for the body, striking a species-specific frequency to which all the body's cells align.Stars are made of the basic elements, and stars give off light. If we are indeed made of star stuff, I'd like to think that the light in our DNA is starlight, that the light of the universe is within us.
May starlight shine in all of us and give us hope.