Where is the Milky Way?

Our family traveled to Bryce Canyon in August with the hope that we’d “see some stars.” Once the sun went down, we stood at Paria View (which we had all to ourselves) and gasped at the sheer numbers that were visible from that vantage point. The Milky Way sprawled directly over our heads across the entire sky. I was in tearful awe.

When I commented on how beautiful the Milky Way was to behold with the naked eye, Abby turned to me and asked, “Where?” I casually pointed to the bright white sheet that covered a significant portion of visible space.

“I don’t see it! Where is it?”

I pointed again and explained that the entire spectacle was the Milky Way. As we continued to smile at the sight, Abby grew mildly frustrated. “Over there? I don’t see it! Where is it?” She could not shake the idea that we were referring to a fixed point, or some specific star, and was jealous of our enthusiasm for having “found it” while she still searched. She good-naturedly began to laugh with the rest of us, though, as each of us proposed an alternative method for helping her understand that we were talking about the whole thing—to no avail.

Finally, I pulled Abby into my arms, took her little hand in mine, placed my cheek against hers, and drew her pointing hand all the way across the length of the visible Milky Way. “All of that?” she asked.

“Yes, Abby, all of it. That entire white cloud is actually billions of stars!” Abby smiled contentedly as she finally saw the glory of what had always been there. I wondered, then, what glories I remain blind to. Perhaps in years to come, I’ll sense the gentle arms of the Lord around me, and a still, small voice that simply whispers, “All of it.”

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