The same night sky looks very different when viewed through the glow of a major city than it does from the deeply tucked away darkness of a mountain settlement. Yet, the millions of stars are there whether you see them on not. Their existence doesn’t depend on you seeing them!

Earlier this year, while tucked away in the Ozarks of southern Missouri, I was reminded of what I’m missing from my common city view of the night sky. It took the magnificence of an Ozark night sky to remind me of the magnitude of that difference.

You don’t only see the difference … you feel it.

The glow and glare of city life can blind you from the reality of the sky above you. More importantly, multiple less impressive distractions often prevent you from ever even looking up.

I remember as a child, stretching out on the green summer grass in my own backyard, looking up at starry nights. Maybe you do too. I would take in the vast plethora of stars as my vision searched for focus. A familiar poem would come to mind: Star-light star-bright … first star I see tonight … I wish I may, I wish I might … have this wish, I wish tonight.

It was a wish, cast upon wonder.

I’m sure the many wishes I cast upon those starry summer nights were always about some desire for the future. They were grounded in a perceived need for tomorrow or a wanted dream for months and possibly years ahead. And not to be wishy-washy, I’m sure I cast each wish with a sense of strategic pursuit.

Yet, as I look back, I can’t recall a single one of those wishes! They seemed so important at the time. I’m sure every cast wish felt just as isolated and focused as the vision of my eyes upon a single star. No doubt, each wish fueled a sense of hope beyond the ground upon which I stretched. I’m certain each wish was informed and influenced by my past. Yet every wish missed one thing.

The present.

While I have no doubt that I noticed the vast starry night, I wished for something else. I never realized the wish was already upon me. Above me, beside me, within me.

I’m often asked if digging for your core values is an analysis to paste labels upon recent choices and actions … or to cast hopes upon perceived wanted and needed future behaviors. My response is neither.

Digging to your core is more like stretching out under a starry summer night.  Yet, not wishing.  The wish is already present.  The stars are already there. It is about noticing the magnificence above you, beside you, and ultimately within you.

As I mentioned in my blog last week (see Revelation and Invitation), digging for your values isn’t about you finding them. It’s about being present so each one of them can find you. Just as I used to search the vast night sky to find that one star to wish upon … I’m certain the one star I noticed had first found me.

Digging is not about the past or the future. It is about being present so you can be found by your core values. Once found, you will notice that there is only one place your core values can be lived. That’s right. In the present.

As I recently gazed upon the dark night sky of the Missouri Ozarks, I simply noticed how decorated it was with thousands upon thousands of starry lights. There was no need to find a star to wish upon.  The gift was already upon me.  A gift that is lived moment-to-moment.