Recently, a friend of mine asked me what people are. This friend didn’t mean it in a biological way, but in a sense of, “What are we, if not just bags of meat waiting to die?”
It wasn’t something that I was used to answering; this being one of the questions that I would rather just brush off with a, “We are who we are,” or something to that effect, but this time, I stopped and thought about it. What are we other than bags of meat? Are we, as Christians so loving put it, here to love and glorify God whilst enjoying the beautiful bounty of God’s endless love? Or are we just mere coincidences that happened to come around because of a circumstance that occurred at just the right time in the right place?
As a born Catholic, I felt it in my bones to go back to the teachings that I learnt in Sunday School (not really), but as someone who is constantly looking for more than just an answer out of a book that was written over 2000 years ago in the desert, I decided to peruse my library (which I did). As I was looking through my books, my eyes landed on John Green’s novel, The Fault In Our Stars, and lightning hit me (thankfully, not literally). In the said book, there is a line where the ill-fated character of Augustus Waters pretty much sums up what had hit me when I looked at the book: “My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”
That one line got me thinking about the stars, and I went back to my friend with this answer: “We are galaxies.” My friend stared at me for a good long while before asking me to explain myself and this is how I responded (not in verbatim because I am writing this a few days after).
We are galaxies. Well… we’re metaphorical galaxies. Think about it, scientists have found that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies littered across the great expanse of outer space and they have also found out that there are different types with many colors, textures, shapes and sizes. That is exactly like what we are; we’re a race of Homo sapiens with characteristics that differ from each other in many aspects – even twins aren’t exactly alike. We each have different eyes, different hands, different hair types and even though we’ve classified ourselves into general terms of physical attributes, no two of us are exactly the same; the same going for our celestial associates.
A galaxy is made from the culmination of billions of illuminated gas balls called stars, gas and dust. Everything that we think, do, see, hear, feel, touch, and experience become our stars. Every emotion, every triumph, and every downfall – they all become pinpoints of light that make up the whole stretch of galaxy. The gas and dust are the things that we keep secret from the world, the things that we take to our graves with us and the things that are too painful, weird or unnecessary to tell anyone. We are our experiences, we are our laughter, we are our scars and we become the bright whirl in space as we grow, our personal congregation of cosmic luminosities growing with each passing day.
Next, a galaxy has its own gravitational pull, ranging from I don’t want to talk to you, to hey guys, how is everyone?, to okay there, you can back up a bit, to oh my god let go of me, and finally, why don’t you just sit on my lap, eat my food, sleep in my bed and wear my clothes? People have personalities that range from the introverted to the extroverted, from the borderline depressives to the obvious psychopath and with that personality, attract a certain people to them. When people say that they are repulsed by someone, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to douse them in kerosene and set them alight, rather they’re not compatible with the gravitational forces that the other person has. It explains why some people just don’t like others: because their gravity is out of sync. Being out of people’s gravitational field isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because that means you can attract or be attracted to the galaxies that have a synchronized gravitational force as you (then you both can wage a millennial war on who devour who and reap the benefits of absorbing another person/galaxy).
So let’s talk about constellations. A constellation is an area in space that has stars that look like some comprehensible shape or pattern. These patterns are made up of, you guessed it, stars. And stars, kids, are galaxies hanging out in space. Although Mr. Augustus Waters said that his thoughts are stars that can’t be fathomed into constellations, I think that it isn’t thoughts that so desire to be fathomed into constellations, but rather, it’s us; we humans want to be fathomed into a pretty pattern up in space. My point isn’t that we yearn to be shot up into outer space where we will explode into a dazzling display of helium and other gases, but that we want to feel connected to someone. We want to connect with someone to at least make a line, any dent that shows that someone understands us. And with that understanding, slowly but surely, a pattern of like-minded people emerge and create your very own Orion in the sky. Connectivity is what humans need; it’s a known and studied fact and even the loneliest, most introverted person lends their voice to the constant thrum of the universe some time.
Last but not least, galaxies are beautiful. Be it the smallest, shyest, dimmest, brightest or oddly shaped galaxy, you have to admit that all galaxies are beautiful. The splashes of color, the seeming randomness of stars and shapes, the speed of their rotation across the sky and the dances and fights it has with other galaxies. Some of the most stunning galaxies come from the most cataclysmic events and become the objects of many scientists adoration. We’re exactly like a galaxy in the sky: oddly shaped, seemingly random, moving aimlessly through a wide open space and somehow, somewhere along the way, we find ourselves in sync with galaxies alike to our own personal gathering of glowballs.
So be you a proud spiral galaxy, a bright elliptical galaxy or an odd irregular galaxy, just know that you’re beautiful, that you’re something that is unique beyond measure and that your stars make you something to be in awe of. The next time someone tries to put you down, gravitate away from their galaxy (or devour them) and move to your own safe haven of like-minded galaxies.
We’re all galaxies, small or big, and we all deserve a place in the night sky to shine.