Like the Stars of the Morning

The preschool class was done with their craft project. Now they settled down on the rug for storytime, Miss Jenny right in the middle with the book in her lap. She had decided at the beginning that Miss Jenny is easier to say than her other name, Mrs. Foreman.

One child noticed on Miss Jenny’s face a tiny sparkle, a leftover speck of glitter. She reached up to take it away. But another little girl stopped her. “Leave it there,” she said. “It looks good on her.”

Someone has a sparkling personality, we say. The older ones among us may refer to the time when we were nothing but a twinkle in our father’s eye. Our faces brighten when we receive good news.

In reading the gospels, I often think that Jesus draws disciples to himself with just such magnetism, and not with stern pronouncements. Like Zorba at the water’s edge teaching us to dance, he is able to communicate the joy of life.

Last week I visited a care home where lives a longtime friend who has recently had her ninety-fifth birthday. Words, thoughts, intentions—these things can fail us. She did not quite remember who I was. It did not matter, I told myself.

Then, just as I was leaving, I heard her say my name. The smile she gave me, a glimpse of her old self, has stayed with me over the past days. It came to mind again yesterday when my daughter Miss Jenny told me of a tiny glimmer of light that did not go unseen.