Like a million suns

Bright center of a star cluster. Photo by NASA via Unsplash

Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns, 
And calls me on and on across the universe…     — John Lennon & Paul McCartney

Recently while I was driving to York County, I began getting sleepy as I almost always do when I make long drives alone. The coffee I brought along was gone and didn’t seem to be helping, so I turned off the podcast I was listening to and cranked up the music. This time, I chose the Beatles, and soon I was wide awake, enjoying once again the music that was part of the soundtrack to my youthful life.

Of course, there was “Here Comes the Sun,” which for many years was my very favorite Beatles tune. And “The Long and Winding Road,” with its magnificent wall-of-sound orchestration. But the selection that spoke to me in a new way was another longtime favorite, “Across the Universe.” When I was young, I loved it for the gentle reassurance of the delicate music, and the meandering, poetic lyrics that told me someone out there besides me had a mind that wandered in many directions.

If you’re familiar with the song, you know that the words “nothing’s gonna change my world” repeat in the chorus with an almost hypnotic insistence. On the surface, these words sound like a naive delusion; wishful thinking that the coming years would prove false. But to me, even when I was young, I knew better than to take them literally. Rather, they suggested the presence of an eternal foundation that would remain unmoved despite external circumstances.

Hearing the song from where I now find myself, that suggestion is all the more powerful. The final verse, from which the quote above is drawn, resonated deeply with me as I thought of Jeff, and my parents, and my grandparents and other friends and family whose “limitless, undying love” really does shine around me like a million suns, reflecting the divine source to which they have all now returned.

The shining isn’t limited to those who have passed from this life. Every day, as I wade through mundane challenges magnified by the sadness and anxiety that crash on me in wave after wave, it’s the love shown by others that “calls me on and on, across the universe.” None of these people are superheroes or celebrities or miracle-workers. They’re just people who show up day after day, in my life or yours, with nothing remarkable about them except the presence of that same “limitless undying love” that’s so cleverly camouflaged by ordinary existence that we almost always miss it. But it’s there, and sometimes we can sense what we cannot see.

One of our ministers recently wrote that “faith is ultimately deciding that the real world is the unseen world.” Our eyes give us only a dim reflection of that reality, but as the saints and poets (and musicians) have always known, there is a blindingly brilliant radiance calling to our souls, shining like a million suns, cheering us on.

Art, Carol, Amy, Lee, Lynn, Tuck and Renee, shining like a million suns. July, 2018

33 Comments

  1. Renee

    What great fun we had spending time together, laughing, reliving old times & enjoying great food! Limitless undying love that surrounds you when you are with us physically & when you are not. Sometimes we encourage ourselves by placing ourselves in other’s space. Relationship is so important!

    • Renee, you are right. Sometimes we just have to be face to face with people to feel in the heart what we already know in the mind. I am so grateful for the times we have together! Over the years, every time we/I have been together with friends, everyone says “we should do this more often.” We just need to get ourselves off the hamster wheel and make it happen! Looking foward to seeing you later today. Movers here already. 😀

      • BTW I hope Mark didn’t mind that the “photographer” you recruited to take our photo somehow ended up cutting him out! Or did he lean out of the photo intentionally? 😀 That’s the sort of stunt I tend to pull.

        • Rosalie Smith

          Magnificent, Julia! You nailed it!

          • Thank you, Rosalie. I am so happy you enjoyed the post. ❤

  2. Paula Escobell

    So right, dear encourager! God sends us reflections of His “limitless undying love” every day. We fail to be still enough to see it and reflect on it. Thank you for making my life better with the “limitless undying love” reflected in each of your posts.
    Love,
    Paula

    • Thank you, Paula! I am always so happy to see you here. Yes, life keeps us so fretful and busy that we miss all the blessings around us. I’m glad you enjoyed this post and I appreciate your presence here.

  3. What a beautiful picture full of shining stars! Love to you and Matt! Hope you got my last email. We have moved to Salado Texas to be near my nieces and nephew. 💖

    • Cherie, until I got this comment, I had no idea you had sent me an email. But when I did an inbox search, I found it. I’m so glad you told me about it! I loved seeing your photos of the family, the flowers and your darling new home. Best of all was reading how well Ron is doing. That wound care routine can be grueling. Jeff always insisted on doing his own but I shudder to think about how painful it must have been. The doctors could not believe he was doing it himself. Those months can really drag out but when the healing comes it is worth it. I’m so glad God allowed your niece to locate you! Getting your good news has given me something to be cheerful about this morning. Thanks for being here with your love and light. ❤

  4. There are some very beautiful thoughts here, Julia. “faith is ultimately deciding that the real world is the unseen world.” This really resonates for me right now. I’m glad you have such a strong support group around you. It’s vital to continuing this journey of trials. Thinking of you and sending loving hugs.

    • Thank you, Marlene. I think of you often and fondly, hoping you are doing well. I’ve temporarily lost touch with so many of my online friends in the overwhelming business of moving, but I hope get back to normal (whatever that is) eventually. Till then, thanks so much for being here. Sending you giant hugs! 😀 ❤

  5. Harry Sims

    Early in my conscious spiritual journey I was on the way to a sabbatical that some call “treatment” and “something” told me to turn on the radio to keep me company on the nine hour trip and then “something” told me to listen to each song and try to see God’s presence there.
    There it was in every song.
    Oh what a sublime journey.

    Harry

    • Harry, I’ve often heard people say that we find what we are looking for, and I really do think it’s true. Just as you discovered in your memorable car trip, we only need to “tune in” (no pun intended) to what is always there. Sometimes that’s pretty hard to do, but even in the worst of times I remind myself that there are wellsprings of blessings that I can tap into if I’ll just make the effort. When I was young I heard a song I’ve never forgotten – turns out it was written by Amy Grant, though I didn’t know that at the time. One of the verses says:

      Are you puzzled by the way that you’re behaving?
      Do you wonder why you do the things you do?
      Are you troubled by your lack of resistance?
      Do you feel that something’s got a hold on you?

      Well deep within you there’s a spiritual battle
      There’s a voice of the darkness and a voice of the light
      And just by listening you’ve made a decision
      ‘Cause the voice you hear is gonna win the fight.

      WOW! Scary but also encouraging. When I’m stuck in negativity I try to remember that “the voice that you hear is gonna win the fight.” Just listening is a decision.

  6. Julia,
    A beautiful and needful post.
    “Every day, as I wade through mundane challenges magnified by the sadness and anxiety that crash on me in wave after wave, it’s the love shown by others that “calls me on and on, across the universe.” None of these people are superheroes or celebrities or miracle-workers.”
    But, when they are with us during a most difficult time, they certainly seem to us to be superheroes or miracle-workers; don’t they?
    -Alan

  7. MaryAnn Clontz

    Lots of love & joy in this photo! Your words are wonderful reminders of how IMPORTANT people are to us & to our Heavenly Father. Above all else, treasure relationships! Our bond is strong & everlasting! Praise God!

    • Mary Ann, when I think of our wonderful years in NorCal (1999-2004) 90% of the beautiful memories aren’t of the gorgeous natural beauty or fabulous weather. They are of the love, friendship and happiness we had during our years there, and you are a big part of that. We connected instantly and here we are all these years later, still sharing and caring. We love you and thank God for your encouraging presence in our lives!!!

      • MaryAnn Clontz

        YES!!!

  8. Good morning, Julia! I’m so glad that you also appreciate “Across the Universe.”
    It speaks to me, too, reminding me that something within me is firmly connected to the universe and to infinity. I find it comforting and affirming.
    Blessings on your day and week!

    • Thanks Susan! I am so excited that Matt and I will be seeing you soon. Hope your week is full of blessings too! 😀

  9. Sheila

    Julia, your post really had me thinking all week about those songs you referenced and the lyrics that were played over and over “back in the day”! I hope to find time to listen to them again, soon. I hope the brilliant radiance that shines like a million suns will be a newfound happiness for you and Matt at your new home! 💛🏠 Thank you for continuing to be a source of strength to me and so many others, as well! 🌸 Love crosses the miles,Sheila

    • Thank you, Sheila. Wasn’t our generation lucky, to have the music we had? Of course I’m biased, but I don’t think any era can quite equal the 60’s and 70’s in terms of all the great songs we used to listen to and sing along. You are a source of strength to me as well. ❤ Race you to the Verandah for a cup of herbal tea!

  10. Rene

    Oh, to be that “limitless, undying love” for others and for them to know it. “Magnificent” was the perfect word for this post. Julia’s Magnificat!

    • Thanks you, Rene! That’s quite a compliment. Yes, to be the source of such light to others is a high calling indeed. Not easily attainable, but worth reaching for!

  11. So many Beatles songs happen to be favourites of mine. I think their music endures because they were far ahead of the times. Jim and I got tickets to Paul McCartney in September. We saw him last time he was in Edmonton too. I was surprised by the young man sitting directly behind us. Through the entire show, he sang along and knew every lyric. I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure he was at least 30 years younger than me. The message in their music can mean different things to different people at different times. I think that’s why it’s been so appealing for so many decades. You look beautiful in the photo with your friends. xo K

    • Thank you Kelly, I think I look old and puffy in that photo, so it’s nice to have a different perspective! Yes, the Beatles were truly phenomenal. Each of them were talented individuals whose solo music I also enjoyed. I have favorite tunes from each of the four of them when they split up into solo careers. One thing about the Beatles was how their music had so many different types of sound. Some bands have basically the same sound through all their music and over many years. Not so with the Beatles. It’s surprising to realize they were together for only a relatively short time, but their work will live on.

      • Exactly, I think the years were kind of Golden in many ways. It was a great time for fashion, television and music. Also economically and socially I think. Or, is could just be me looking long into the past with rose coloured glasses 😀 x

        • Well I’ve always been a rose-color glasses kind of gal myself, so no wonder we both enjoy so many landscapes! Yes, I do think it was a great time in many respects. Also a turbulent time, with lots of unrest and tragedy (assassinations at home and atrocities abroad) and like today, war that seemed to linger on and on. As Charles Dickens famously wrote about a different era nearly two hundred years earlier, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” But like you, I prefer to remember the best. And hopefully learn from the worst.

  12. Mike

    The pict above is at the Shady Maple with Raynard? Funny I am not familiar with that song across the Universe, but just the other day I was listening to Strawberry Fields-especially the drum solo by Ringo as I am an amateur drummer or was at one time. Did I mention we saw “Strawberry Fields” monument in NYC across from the Dakota apartments where John met his unfortunate fate. There is always a gathering at the site and people leave small tokesn of appreciation, What a flash of genius were those four boys from Liverpool. I don’t know if you got to catch the “Carpool Karaoke” with James Gordon and Paul McCartney- Sir Paul but it is worth the view. They toured his early home where as a kid -John would come over and they would fool around on the guitar.
    My DIL Rachel has turned me on to some new Aftican Writers like – Adechie M, “Americanah,” and also “Behold the Dreamers.” She is in a book club in East Harlem. Me I am reading “Anils Ghost-” by Michael Ondattje(sp). Wonderful writer and I guess also a poet with several books of poems out which I have not seen.

    • Hi Mike, yes, the photo on the post titled “Smaller and less sneaky” is the famous Shady Maple smorgasbord. Sometime maybe you and Verie can make it to one of Raynard’s birthday celebrations there. We did go to Strawberry Fields in Central Park, but it was so un-crowded that day that I very nearly missed it. I don’t remember seeing a monument, so perhaps it was not built yet; there was a paving stone, but not much more. I haven’t read any of the authors you suggest, but the sound intriguing. So many books– so little time!!

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