Remona Aly
Thursday 21 December 2023 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

My shooting star

Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show

My shooting star 


Last week, I ventured out in the crisp night air to hunt for some shooting stars. A stargazing friend told me about the Geminid meteor shower, a yearly celestial event that reached its peak on Thursday, and she asked if she could drive down to my village to witness the cosmic show play out across the wide Kent horizon.

Wrapped up like a pair of snowmen, we found a remote country lane and craned our necks towards the velvet skies, waiting to see them threaded with flashes of silver. After trying to convince each other that a couple of airplanes were really UFOs, we were finally gifted with over 20 meteors darting above our heads. With each sighting, we grabbed each other in glee, exclaiming ‘subhanallah’, and ‘alhamdulillah’ – Islamic phrases that praise God. 

For a moment, I forgot all my worries that another year is drawing to a close. For a moment, I didn’t panic that all my plans, dreams and prayers were left unfulfilled yet again.

I think of that momentous book I never got to write, the wedding speech I never got to say, the precious time with a lost loved one I never got to share.

I feel tired and burnt out, like one of those meteors.

But instead of mourning all the things that slipped away from me, those shooting stars also remind me that light can break through the darkest folds of night. I reckon a fleeting flash of hope is more precious because it can shine out of nowhere; a streak of faith can rekindle my belief a prayer may still be answered; and a glow of short-lived delight is more beloved precisely because it is brief.

The 14th century Persian Muslim poet, Hafez, said, “I sometimes forget that I was created for Joy. My mind is too busy. My Heart is too heavy for me to remember that I have been called to dance the Sacred dance of life.”

Just as the meteors danced across the night sky, I don’t want to neglect any dance of joy, however transitory, that life choreographs for me. Perhaps when the next big meteor shower graces our skies, instead of feeling burnt out, I’ll try better at letting each light in.

To listen, click here Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show