You Won’t Find Faith or Hope Down A Telescope

by Susan Pogorzelski on January 26, 2011 · 9 comments

And we’re just trying to find some meaning
In the things that we believe in
But we’ve got some ways to go…

You won’t find faith or hope down a telescope
You won’t find heart and soul in the stars
You can break everything down to chemicals…

-The Script, “Science and Faith”

My dad was a Science major when he was in college while my mom majored in English. I like to think that I got the best of both sides, though I’ve always had an affinity for the humanities and my understanding of the sciences is fundamental, at best. Still, Science fascinates me – the theories, the absolute, undeniable truths, having an idea and acting on it to find proof through experimentation, the constant discovery…

It’s fascinating how the body works – how we breathe and move and grow, how the heart beats…So fragile and yet so powerful is the mind, capturing images, retaining memories, imagining and creating and analyzing, and, still, we’ve barely begun to learn and understand all that it’s capable of. It’s incredible how this world works – our world, this world where tiny particles make up an entire living environment that continues to grow and evolve, this world that seems so big but is still such a small part of the universe, reminding us that all of it matters…all of it.

There’s so much we don’t know, so much we’re still finding out, and though I can’t imagine we’ll ever know everything, there’s something undeniably thrilling about it.

That’s what I love most about this life – the questions.

Trying to find answers, trying to better ourselves and the world around us through knowledge, through understanding, through experience. And sometimes, that means having faith in something that you can’t prove, that you can’t quantify; sometimes it means there are questions you’re not able to answer.

Sometimes, it means there are answers you’re not ready to face .

I was sick last week, spending six days in bed with Riley beside me (who was either unhappy to see me ill or very happy to have me home). When I wasn’t knocking myself out with cough medicine, I was watching feel-good movies, and when I was halfway between tired and exhausted, I lay in bed, waiting for sleep to take over again, thinking about this coming year, thinking about everything I want to accomplish, thinking about dreams and my future and wondering how it would all turn out.

I tend to dream big.

This quality can get me into trouble with myself, because, sometimes, I don’t know how to accomplish those dreams, which leads to discouragement and feeling like I’ve somehow lost or failed, faith in myself and in my passions waning. Such was the case when I researched opening a daycare for dogs; such was the case when I had convinced myself I wanted to work in publishing. I had plans, but life had other ones and, while I’m ultimately grateful for this path I’ve pursued instead, I can’t help but wonder if all of my dreams will be subject to the same fate — just a wistful remembrance of a once-upon-a-time wish.

Yet, there is something I’ve become sure of in the past few days: there are two dreams that have been with me for as long as I can remember, two dreams that I carry in my heart, that always remain in a corner of my mind, that whisper “this is why it’s worth it” when I question what I’m doing, when I question my purpose, when I question this life.

My dream is to write.

My dream is to help people find their voice.

To write. To help.

It seems so easy.

So how can it be so hard?

And, ok, what does this have to do with Science?


Sir Isaac Newton. He’s a staple of modern science and a master of Physics, but his famous principles apply to more than just an understanding of motion. In my feverish haze, I realized what I’ve always believed to be true: everything is linked, everything is connected, everything has its purpose and its reason, and we are constantly moving towards that purpose and that reason.

Movement. Motion. 

Science means questioning and testing the world around you. Spirituality means believing in something that can’t be proven true.

We often divide the subjects into these two categories: fact vs. faith. But maybe it isn’t as simple as that. Maybe the two somehow go hand-in-hand as we try to discover more about ourselves and our world: experimenting, believing, questioning, learning.

Maybe it’s about taking the scientific approach and hypothesizing, experimenting, trying while having faith that you’re working towards something, that a dream can possibly come true.

Newton’s Laws of Motion

The first law is this: An object at rest will remain at rest while an object in motion will remain in motion unless an outside force acts upon it.

This is why I’ve been thinking about it all: I’ve been at constant rest. At least, it’s felt that way these last few years…

For so long, I’ve held my own self back because I’ve been scared — I’ve been scared of trying, scared of success, scared of loving.

I’ve been scared of living.

I’ve been so afraid of losing everything and everyone close to me that I haven’t even given life a chance. Instead, I’d given up, spending years unconsciously, so carefully constructing these walls that have kept me at a distance from experiences and people — even those I‘m closest to. I’ve taken my chances — life sometimes unexpectedly throws you into motion whether you want it to or not, moving you forward in the direction you’re meant to go — and I’ve created memorable experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

And yet, when it comes to those big dreams — the ones that whisper, “don’t let go of this” when you’re aimless and wandering — those are the dreams I’ve barely begun to work towards, so terrified am I at the idea of failing.

Or, perhaps more terrified at the idea that they might possibly come true.

An object at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts upon it…

Sometimes, I’ve realized, you can’t leave it all up to faith and big dreams; sometimes, you have to give yourself a push.

Sometimes, that means putting in that effort and dedication; sometimes, it means taking a chance.

Sometimes, it’s about remembering that what you put out into the world is what you’ll get back, and if you do both — if you test yourself and believe in yourself, you can get that much closer to what you most want.

It’s time to reach out, to let those walls crumble, to not hold back and be so afraid.

It’s time to remember how much we’re capable of…

And how far beyond even that we can go.

All I can promise:
I’m trying.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan Stephens January 26, 2011

Really enjoyed the connections you’re making here Susan. I love the dichotomy between science vs. the arts, between fact vs. faith. And now you’ve done the hard part… you’re aware of what’s going on and you’ve put it down on paper. Now just take the baby steps… start taking action, and watch the momentum grow. Keep chasing the big dream; if not, what are we living for, right?

Best of luck!


Susan Pogorzelski February 3, 2011

Thanks so much for the comment, Ryan! Isn’t it fascinating, how everything can relate? And when it all boils down to it, it’s all about life?I’ve realized that you can’t get anywhere without moving — it’s a law of physics, it’s a lesson in life — and even if it is those baby steps, I’ll be further along than I was.

Live for the big dreams…I love that.


Sarah January 29, 2011

My favorite quote from Ever After is when DaVinci tells Henry, “You can’t leave everything to Fate, boy! She’s got a lot to do. Sometimes you have to give her a hand.” This is the phrase that always lingers in the back of my mind as I’m about to take a leap of faith or challenge myself. It’s not that I don’t believe in Fate, but I feel that while Fate has a hand in what’s meant to happen, ultimately, we make it happen.


Susan Pogorzelski February 3, 2011

YES! See, this is why I adore you, you always understand the core of what I’m feeling. I love that quote as well, and when I think about fate, I also think of this. You could wait for life to come to you, or you can go out there and seize it.

Love this comment, Sarah, love you.


Lyssa January 30, 2011

Sometimes I spend way too much time thinking about the universe. I have yet to personify it and tempt it with tootsie rolls, though! I’m not there yet! For now, I’m just a little in awe and overwhelmed. I’m reading Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, and this is making me think even MORE about the universe and all of the major scientists (particularly our Sir Isaac Newton). Anyway, beautiful post, Susan. I looooove how you capture so eloquently this reckoning between dichotomies. I think you’re doing a fine job. I’m scared of living, too, so I can commiserate. You know what makes all of this better, what gives me hope? Your heart. <3


Susan Pogorzelski February 3, 2011

I have it on good authority that if you were to tempt the Universe with tootsie rolls, it will take the tootsie rolls, ignore you, and do what it wants anyway. But that’s just some of its tough love, teaching you that it’s up to you, that the Universe guides but doesn’t meddle, and that it knows what’s meant to be but will push you towards finding that for yourself.

Boy, the Universe can be a real pain in the ass, huh?

The thoughts can be overwhelming and, yes, awe-inspiring, especially considering all there is to know about it and all we’ve yet to learn. But when it comes to our personal lives, I think it comes down to just listening to that whisper to ourselves and trusting it. Trust yourself, Lys. You’re full of light and magic and if we’re scared of living, we’ll be scared together and together, we’ll face life head-on.



Noel February 1, 2011

So beautifully honest! I have no doubt that by posting this and putting it out into the universe, you’ve already given your dreams a push forward.


Susan Pogorzelski February 3, 2011

Noel — I’m so glad to have been introduced to you! Your own writing is beautiful and I love your blog! Thank you so much for the kind comment — only time will tell 🙂


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