“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream…”
–Vincent Van Gogh
Coming from a city as big as Miami, I never really got many chances to see the stars well. I honestly have such admiration for natural beauties in the sky, like sunsets and sunrises, and being from Florida I’m lucky enough to experience them on the water often. I can sincerely say, however, that I have never seen a sight as beautiful as the stars we slept under during our Calwood retreat. To others it wasn’t that big of a deal, but to me it was fucking amazing.
Abbey, Anna, Bruce, Morgann, Laura, Athena and I were the lucky ones who got to fall asleep under that breathtaking view. Experiencing such a stunning part of nature brought up some deep talks between the seven of us. To think about how crazy it is for us to be able to look up and see all these twinkling lights that are actually the illuminations of stars that have died long ago but still shine in our sky because they are literally light years away was incredibly mind-blowing. It was eye-opening to hear a few of my friends’ opinions and beliefs on this concept of how and why these wonderful things in the universe exist. It definitely got me thinking about my own beliefs about the universe and religions, as underdeveloped as they are. Slowly, I began to realize a bit more about them.
One thing is for certain: I don’t identify with any set religion. Beyond that, everything to me is so uncertain and unclear. I am aware that there is something, some higher power or force of energy that controls or maintains our planet and our universe, I just have no idea what that actually is. I tend to refer to whatever it may be as “The Universe.” To me the Universe is my way of thinking of a Christian’s God or a Muslim’s Allah, that higher power that we all think about, the one who has laid our lives out for us or the one who constantly intervenes in them. Thinking about those stars and that fantastic mountain view, it’s completely impossible for me to even consider that there is nothing that ties our meager human lives to those elevated masses of earth or the burning flashes of those stars that have perished. I may not have strong convictions in a religion, but I adamantly believe in some form of a divine entity that has a say in things as small as the migration patterns of a school of fish and in things as immense as the creation of new galaxies.
I genuinely think that a connection exists between everything. The energy that is sent out from all these different things creates this connection. Something had to create the universe, and us for that matter, and I like to think of that as more than just science because I’ve experienced things that are inexplicable from the point of view of a scientist. When I was looking up at that starry sky I wasn’t thinking about the gases that compose that specific star and how far away each one is from us exactly. I was contemplating about the nature of our existence and about the presence of this “Universe” and wondering if my life was predestined to happen in an exact way and if, similarly, everyone’s life and every event on Earth and in the universe is predestined to be one way. It’s incredible that just simply looking up at the stars brought upon all these thoughts in my mind about my own spirituality and beliefs.
After falling asleep, a bit disappointed in myself for succumbing to my exhaustion and missing out on this majestic scene, I found myself naturally waking up to the sunrise over the mountains. Again, I was only further impressed and stunned at the dazzling landscape that I seriously felt honored to experience.
As I was the only one awake at this point I sort of just held my breath in this moment (after taking a few pictures of course) trying to linger in this exact point in my life as long as possible. In this moment, I realized something. I may not know the answers to all of my intuitive questions, but that’s okay. This time in my life is for exactly that: searching for answers, searching for myself, searching for what I’m passionate about and what I believe in, and I’m beyond excited to continue this journey for knowledge self-discovery.
So, as far as “religion,” I’m not so sure I would fall under any category or set of standards that defines someone who is part of one, but I sure as hell know that I have faith. Faith in whatever omnipotent entity is controlling our universe and I hope one day I’ll be pleasantly surprised when my questions are answered.
Written and Photographed by Kourtney Lesperance, WLLC 2015-2016