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Nov 08, 2013 | The Rev. Robert Sellers

One Shooting Star at a Time

[Diolog Magazine] After doing his AA Fifth Step with an Episcopal priest, J enjoyed deliverance from alcohol and from extremely dangerous behavior that sometimes resulted from his drinking.  But then it seemed that his business would fail.  Even more than his own financial loss, he dreaded the loss that would be taken by friends who trusted him and provided the capital he had needed to get started.


He came home one afternoon feeling crushed.  "Honey, I just have to get away for a day or two.  I'll be all right.  I'll stay in touch."  J began to drive aimlessly and then found himself on Highway 59 headed toward the Valley.  It was a drizzly day with low, low skies and just enough rain to send mud up from the eighteen-wheelers onto his windshield, but not enough to clear it off.


"Lord, show me some sign of your love," he wept.  CORPUS CHRISTI blared the road signs, but J was raised Baptist and did not believe that God sometimes speaks Latin.


As he approached Port Lavaca, he felt sleepy and saw the Viking Motel ahead.  He pulled in, checked in, phoned his wife to reassure her and then found he could not lie down in peace.  Back in his car, he tried to find a way to the beach.  A little road opened up to his left.  As he approached the beach, he came out from under those low-hanging clouds.  Out over the Gulf, it was bright and clear, brilliant with a million stars.  He saw a shooting star.  Then more.  As he got out of his car, he realized that he was seeing an extraordinary meteor shower.  "Is this the sign I've been asking for?" 


"No, of course not."


He lay on the hood of his car stunned by wonder.  "God, if this is from you, could you put your signature on it somehow?"  The sky exploded much more intensely than before. 


"Hmm.  I wonder if I could make God do that again. "


"NO, NO, I mustn't think that way."


He lay there marveling maybe thirty minutes, maybe three hours.  Then he returned to his room, got a good night's sleep, and returned home.  The financial crisis passed and the future of his business was assured, but J became distraught.  Childhood experiences led him to dread being singled out in any good way.


"I'm going crazy.  I know what this is, it is megalomania.  I'll soon be institutionalized.  I mustn't think that God called up a meteor shower just to show me his love."


"But a meteor shower is nothing to God.  There are any number of such things in the Bible and it simply stands to reason that that is something God could do."


"There!  There it is again!  Megalomania!  I'm doomed."


Round and round again it went until it occurred to J to phone the weather bureau and simply ask if that meteor shower was forecast.  It turned out that it was.


"Yes, we forecast it and predicted it would be one of the most spectacular in decades.


J relaxed.  It was just a godly coincidence.  He had not been singled out.  He felt safe.


"And it's such a shame, too."


"Why is it a shame?"


"That night the whole state of Texas was overcast.  No one in Texas got to see it."


Sellers is a retired priest living in Florida. J gave his permission for this story to be shared.