A lifetime ago when I was a mere teenager (with hair) I stood at a guard rail along the Niagara Parkway and considered climbing over and throwing myself into the Niagara river.
In retrospect I suppose I should’ve been smoking pot and drinking myself into oblivion like my classmates, but as usual, I had to make things more difficult by thinking too much. My legs shook as though they were holding up the weight of the world. My hands gripped that cold iron rail until they ached. Tears streamed down my face. Resigned to my fate, I began to climb over…
And then I looked up at the stars.
#83: Staring Up At The Stars.
Don’t ask me why I did it. Or for that matter, why I was contemplating suicide in the first place, though I’m happy to report I don’t remember the answer to either query, that’s how far removed I am from that state of mind. So don’t think for a second that there isn’t hope when all looks lost.
But the fact remains that I did look up and when my bloodshot eyes lined up with a sky overrun with celestial bodies everything changed. I’m not a religious bellman (although when I was a kid I started going to church to gaze upon a girl in the choir that I wanted to get to know in the Biblical sense) but gazing up at the stars made me realize there was more to the universe than what I could see.
Call it God, or Allah or those three decidedly-unattractive sisters who weave the tapestry of our lives, but there has to be something more out there just beyond the edge of the cosmos.
Something that created those amazing stars we take for granted every night. I know what you’re thinking:
“But Hook, aren’t the stars we’re looking at every night actually burning out, i.e, dying? And if so, why use them to illustrate why people shouldn’t commit suicide?”
Listen, Buzzkillian, the more massive the star, the faster it burns up its fuel supply, and the shorter its life. However – and this is a big “however” – the most massive stars can burn out and explode in a supernova after “only” a few million years of fusion. A star with a mass like the Sun, on the other hand, can continue fusing hydrogen for about 10 billion years.
So if a star can last that long surely you can live out your measly (average) lifespan of 79 years, right?
The stars represent the unknown. They make us feel insignificant but connected simultaneously. They’re worth your time and their beauty is proof that whatever or whoever is responsible for your creation wouldn’t want you to throw your life away. So don’t.
See you in the lobby, kids…
Definitely food for thought. If the light from a star reaches us so many years after it ceases to exist, is there not hope of an after life in the interim?
Anger and obstinacy stopped me driving off the road into a deep valley……… he wasn’t worth my life, neither was he worthy of it. It was the turning point for me.
Thank for a beautiful and vulnerable statement, old friend.
You’re welcome Robert.
I’m so glad you looked up.
Once, when I went on a night scuba dive, when we swirled our hands around and disturbed the water, phosphorescence lit up all around us. It was like being up in the heavens, with stars all around. Beyond cool!
Certainly sounds that way!
Thanks for sharing.
Can’t help but be impressive on a clear night. Excellent way to keep the self-destructive feelings away.
Thanks again, John.
We were lying on our backs in a vacant lot next to our back yard off of West MacArthur watching the uncharacteristically large number of stars for such an urban, light-polluted area when gunfire between some of the local gang-bangers broke out up the street a ways.
I asked Briana “You want to go back inside?”
She said “Nope. Do you?”
“Nope. This reminds me of the stars over the National Forest, and it can be dangerous out there also, but always worth it.”
Briana has more guts than I do, that’s for sure.
Stay safe, Doug.
Hook. You and I go a long way back. Right now I am teetering on the brink again. There’s the whole Susan thing again, and the Rosey thing, and to be honest I don’t feel grown up enough to deal with either. But I’m still here, and the stars still are shining. Do you ever wish you could be just dull? Ordinary? I get that sometimes, then Rosey thinks I’m cool because of the way I have described her without using the words hot. but using the word triangular, and I don’t feel too bad. And the stars still shine
And as long as the stars keep shining there will be hop in your heart, right?
I’m sorry to read of your crisis, old friend.
If I can help in any way you know where to find me.
I absolutely agree…the sight of a million stars in the sky is life-affirming! ❣
It never fails to move me.
Boy! Am I really happy you found the stars that night because years later, when I am reading your blog, I am thinking yes, yes, I get it and sometimes laughing at life for a change. Merci beaucoup.
You honor me once again, old friend.
Thank you as well.
Keep going. your insights are needed.
The stars are beautiful to look at, especially when you live far enough from the city so there is no light noise. Lovely…
Thank you so much for all the blog love today, Courtney.
You are more than welcome my friend. I had them all sitting in my INbox just waiting for time to read and comment. I delete so many now, but there are a handful I keep until I can them give proper attention 😉
I feel honored to have made the cut!