Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Throughout the Universe Displayed
I haven't really gotten back into the writing portion of this blog. Not sure why. Anyway, I wanted to make a note about our most recent trip to Havasupai. Well, more the first night of the trip. We arrived sometime around midnight (the last three words are supposed to be sung to the tune of the song with that title) to the Hilltop. It was a weird evening driving through Peach Springs, finding the nearest gas station to the reservation, and then driving into Supai country. I actually wanted to write a short story about the drive, a kind of ghost story. Maybe I still will. Maybe. The parking lot was quiet, and we happened to pull into the area that is designated for tribe members only. The moon waxed that night to nearly being full. It was cold, but camping cold. The kind that you can get away from when you're zipped up in your bag, especially if you're in a tent. Our car didn't bother with the tent, which would have been a mistake except for that when I woke up in the night and stared at the night sky after the moon had set, the sky was still entirely lit up with all of the stars. It was amazing. I have this experience and same line of thinking every time I go camping. The hymn How Great Thou Art floods my mind, I wish that I knew about every star and every constellation and related mythology that litters the sky, and I think about how anyone could ever look at something like that and not believe in God. And every time I start into this train of thought, I think about what it must have been like for Abraham laying down to sleep on a nice summer night in the desert of the middle east, and it seems perfectly obvious to me why he was such a star gazer and how he so easily understood the grandeur of the heavens and man's insignificant place within it all. This time, however, I started to think more about a friend of mine who ended up leaving the Church because he couldn't reconcile his understanding of the world with the gospel and God. He shared with me a story before, probably more faith promoting than historical, about how one of the great scientists of the world, Galileo or someone else, had built a model of the galaxy with the planets and their orbits and such, and left it out for another friend/colleague of his to discover. The friend marveled at the display as he happened upon it, and then asked the scientist where it had come from, to which the scientist replied, 'what do you mean? It appeared here the same way that you assert that the actual galaxy appeared - out of thin air.' The response is meant to be absurd. Of course someone created it. Something that complex doesn't just appear. But my friend has lost sight of that. Having recently read from Alma 30, I thought about Alma's challenge to Korihor to disprove God, and then his statement that "all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." It's so true, isn't it? It's funny to me that we're cast off in this lone and dreary world, but then you go to places like that - see the skies, the waterfalls, and the deep turquoise water - it's hard to believe that we were relegated to this space, that this is the least of all the prizes that God has for us. I am glad that Amy's one criterion for our marriage was that we go camping at least once a year. Being outdoors really helps me to get outside of myself and realize how much more is out there. In a funny way, it's nice to be made to feel insignificant like that because it lends truth to the fact of God's existence.