It is called a pareidolia, meaning a “psychological phenomenon” when someone recognizes something familiar when looking at an object such as a potato and suddenly seeing what they believe to be the shape of a dog’s head. Or when staring into the sky on a lazy summer’s day and spotting a cloud that looks like a horse or Albert Einstein.
How I know this was thanks to an article on a website known as Space.com. The first paragraph read, “Religion and astronomy may not overlap often, but a new NASA X-ray image captures a celestial object that resembles the ‘Hand of God.’
The celestial object referred to was a result of an exploding star that left behind an enormous space cloud of debris shaped like a hand, complete with the outline of a thumb and fingers. The picture itself is an overlap of photographs showing a splendid array of blues, reds and greens that only increases the potential of inspiration and wonder.
But of course it’s not really the hand of God.
And of course one could not simply look up from their back yard in Fort Wayne and see this hand of God with the naked eye. NASA scientists were able to discover the heavenly imagery with the help of a nuclear spectroscopic telescope array, otherwise known as NuSTAR.
But the article made me pause, so that I could take the time to look around me and notice just what I can see with the naked eye. I should not have been surprised that, in fact, I have observed the hand of God many times over.
In a world that has increasingly become more cynical on the subject of faith and a deity, civilization seems more inclined to discount the idea that below the surface images of acts and behaviors, what we witness could be anything more than nature’s resolve.
The debate will never end as to whether man is basically good or basically bad, or how much one’s environment has to do on whether we help an elderly person in distress or choose to break into their house at night. But what about the idea of forces that each one of us hears tugging at our conscience? It is the image of the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other each seeking influence by whispering in our ears.
Lately, people I know have been on me suggesting that my guest columns are always negative, that I need to write about something positive. With the understanding that my professional life has offered me almost daily images of what evils people can commit against one another, including children, their point is well taken.
And when I take the time to look as well as make an attempt to comprehend the hows and the whys, those are the times that I see the hand of God.
When I see and feel the love as new parents hold their newborn baby, relishing what can only be understood as the miracle of life, then I don’t need my bifocals to see what is evident.
When I see the example of a single mother guiding her children to the benefits of living a moral life and a good education all the while she is fending off the calls of the streets, I tend to believe that there is more than mere determination that has fortified her will to succeed.
I have known a lot of young people who have recognized their often tragic mistakes, who through either guilt or the realization that a prison cell or even worse awaited them, have then decidedly held themselves accountable. And even though the road ahead was full of obstacles, they, in fact, turned their lives around to live free and productive lives.
I have learned of young men and women who, when recognizing a friend or relative were so depressed that they were considering harming themselves, took the initiative and offered their heartfelt concern and a listening ear, which ultimately resulted in their acquaintance stepping back from the edge of an abyss.
I have seen a lot of bad, but I’ve seen a lot of good in my life. And after all these years and all the enlightened people I’ve met and the books I’ve read, it all comes down to personal experiences that continue to bolster my belief in that which is greater than myself.
It is more than just faith. And I don’t need a NuSTAR to see the hand of God.