Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How a Fortune Cookie Changed My Fortune by Cindy Noonan

How a Fortune Cookie Changed My Fortune By Cindy Noonan

I’ve opened many fortune cookies in my life, but never read one that actually influenced my destiny—until now. One day while dining on take-out Moo Goo Gai Pan, I broke open my cookie. It read: When it’s dark enough you can see the stars.

This was a pretty profound statement to find in my cookie. After all, the platitude is usually something like these gems:
You will live a long and happy life.
You will come into a lot of money real soon.

My immediate thought? I had found a pearl. This would be a perfect title for my book about a slave boy who follows the North Star on the Underground Railroad. This title had richness and luster. I pinned the fortune on my bulletin board where it still remains.

As I finished my manuscript, now called Dark Enough to See the Stars, I decided to Google the title. I was curious about the origins of this phrase. Ralph Waldo Emerson first coined it. However, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. borrowed it for his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in 1968. This was a “wow” moment for me. Now my quote had even more significance for my story about African-American freedom.

I think there are many layers of meaning to this phrase. For me, it says that when life gets tough, God’s light shines in the darkness. And if we follow that light, He will bring us to our destiny. We can’t see stars in the daylight, and we don’t often look for God’s direction when everything is going well.

My next book is about the Revolutionary War. I wonder how many fortune cookies it will take to find my title? Just kidding.

What is your take on the phrase “When it’s dark enough you can see the stars?”

1 comment:

  1. I love this story! I have found that inspiration comes in the strangest - and most unexpected forms. I also agree that this was an 'inspired' fortune cookie. My duahgter got one once that she still has in her wallet. I forget what it said, but obviously it also had an impact.