“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“We all shine on…like the moon and the stars and the sun…we all shine on…come on and on and on…”
~~ John Lennon
The first constellation I learned when I was a kid was the Big Dipper of course. And when I found out that Native Americans (who in those ancient days we called Indians) called that grouping of stars the Great Bear—Ursa Major—I was hooked. And in those days I had no idea how important “Bear” spirit would come to mean to me. In those days my fascination had a lot to do with a big hairy guy named Gentle Ben.
By the fourth grade, my mom had taught me to find the huge W in the sky and told me that was the Lady Cassiopeia. I was in awe. She also showed me the Seven Sisters, which I came to learn were the Pleiades. And of course there was Orion, who I was all but in love with.
I loved our traveling and camp outs because it was there I could really see the stars, even that great misty belt—the disk or arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. As huge and gigantic as I came to discover our galaxy was, it didn’t make me feel small. It made me feel a part of something truly wonderful.
Over the years I would find out how to find Scorpio, the giant creature that chased Orion across the sky. And Taurus and more.
Life happened then. Good. Bad. Miracles. Pain. New life. Many deaths. Falling in love. Being as betrayed as a person possibly can.
So where along the line I got to the point where I was an onion skin away from being an atheist.
But there were the stars….
But it was the Hubble telescope that changed my life.
It was finding out just how very, very big the Universe was.
I watched through the years as every time the scientist excitedly announce how big our universe was, that some time later they’d find out it was even bigger. In fact, as Douglas Adams would say in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.”
And for some reason that how a profound effect on me.
I quite suddenly knew there was a “God.”
This “God’ was nothing like what I had been taught. This God wasn’t a “He.” This God wasn’t an old man with a long beard that sat on a colossal white marble throne “up there” somewhere, looking down at us just ready to cast destruction on us if we weren’t good. Sort of like a Cosmic Santa Clause.
I knew that this huge, huge, huge, huge universe couldn’t be a mistake.
The rovers on Mars was the beginning of my “seeing.” But seeing the Hubble photographs of planets circling stars in that magic Goldie Locks belt light years away from us? That really did it.
I kept thinking of the beauty on Mars….
And then wondering about what beauty there was out there that we would never see…. That intensified what I was feeling. Experiencing.
I thought about the great Red Spot on Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, the beautiful ice of Europa—and for me?—I knew that had all been created by an Aritst. I simply knew that I knew that I knew.
I knew—and know—that a great utterly amazing and unexplainable and inexplicable Artist had made it all, had made us all.
And I began to realize that every religion had a piece of the puzzle. All the tribes of man had grasped some piece of the Truth and that the more I studied those religions and pathways and philosophies, the more I would learn a little bit more of the puzzle of what “God” was.
Suddenly I knew there wasn’t An Answer. I knew that there was NO book that had all the answers to all the Questions.
That wasn’t what God wanted.
Because if we had ALL of the answers, how could we possibly have relationship with It?
Not a pretty word for God, but in the English language there isn’t a word to describe something that isn’t either male or female.
That was also when I came to see that God didn’t hate me.
That anything that could create the Milky Way Galaxy–a galaxy that has 100 billion stars–didn’t mind that I loved men instead of women.
One hundred billion stars!.
And that is just one galaxy.
Galaxies with stars with planets that have volcanoes like Olympus Mons on Mars, which dwarfs anything on Earth with a height of sixteen miles. Mount Everest is five and a half miles high! And there’s formations like the methane seas of Titan and the geysers of Enceladus.
Made by an Artist.
And I finally came to see that one of those wonders…was me.
For me all this was enough.
I knew there was a “God.”
And I knew that Artist made me exactly they way I was supposed to.
Because a God that could create the 100 billion stars of the Milky Way Galaxy and the 100 billion to 200 billion galaxies more, and make them all unique, was certainly a big enough God to make me.
And that was a God who could not be quantified or explained or pigeon-holed or boxed up.
All that vastness?
It didn’t make me feel small.
It made me feel a part of something truly magnificent.
And that was a truly wonderful thing.
Therefore, I am so very, very grateful, for the stars.
Because now I know there is a God.