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Letter: The Death of a Star, and a Child

One year ago today I visited the Planetarium at the invitation of my grandson with his sixth-grade advanced math class.

What an awesome spectacle, an incredible adventure, to lean back, gaze at the curved ceiling and be transported to the very edge of the universe.

Thanks to the astronomical – literally – capabilities of the VLA “Very Large Array” of 27 parabolic dishes that are each 82 feet in diameter, we were guided from the plains of San Agustin near Socorro, New Mexico to the outreaches of space.

Most of the questions from the kids concerned black holes. Simply put, black holes are where some stars go to die. Nothing escapes from a black hole, not even light.

All stars have a life span.

Just like people.

There’s a day, when, life’s end is inevitable, though never acceptable. Some far, far – like a shooting star – too soon.

It’s hard to imagine any greater grief than the analogous black hole made in the heart by the death of an infant to a mother. So difficult for the light of a genuine smile – perhaps with the mouth but belied by the eyes – to once again shine.

But dying stars don’t always fade away to nothingness.

It’s also true that “stars die – so that new suns and planets can be created. It is all part of the life process of the star.”

There’s still another purpose served by stars, not only new life, but renewed significance.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” Psalm 8:3,4

But He does.

Even – and no doubt especially – when.

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