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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