This I Believe

Kelsey - Iowa City, Iowa
Entered on December 5, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: humility
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Country Stargazing

I jump into the truck and begin a late night drive out into the country. I admit, living in rural Iowa doesn’t always leave you with a million fun things to do on a Friday night. There is something, however, that I occasionally make time for.

I believe in stargazing. I believe it clears the mind and puts your life into perspective. To be honest, there’s no better place to be than rural Iowa when you want to stargaze. There aren’t large cities within a two-hundred-mile radius. There aren’t streetlights on those bumpy gravel roads. There’s just the unpleasant, familiar smell of the hog farms nearby. In essence, I’m lucky to live in rural Iowa. The sky is unpolluted, the stars shine bright and bold, and I feel so small compared to the endless sky.

I grew up in a very active family. There was always something going on, whether it be school, athletics, or socializing. All of this didn’t leave much time for taking a deep breath and being thankful for all that I had.

On a boring Friday night, my friends and I decided to go stargazing. After making a bunch of unfamiliar turns on the gravel roads, I found myself in the middle of acres and acres of fields. There was nothing, absolutely nothing around to obstruct the beautiful night sky.

I climbed out of the truck and laid the blankets in the back. My friends and I piled in and laid on our backs, shoulder to shoulder. Then, there was silence.

Each of us looked up. For the next two hours, there was silence and stillness.

You want to know what I saw that night?

At first, I simply saw stars, millions of them. Then, I started to see the bigger picture. Too often I get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of my own life. I become the only thing that matters.

Stargazing is a humbling experience. When I take the time to stargaze, I also take time to think of others. In addition to thinking of others, I’m able to sort out conflicts within myself that normally get pushed aside. Usually, I find that what I thought was a big deal really wasn’t. In comparison to the problems these stars most likely encompass, my own problems really don’t matter.

I often find myself being jealous of the kids that grow up in the city, with what seems like a thousand more opportunities knocking at their doors than I will ever have. But on the nights I go stargazing, they can be jealous of me, because the best place to clear your mind and put your life into perspective is in the bed of a truck, on the gravel roads of rural Iowa. All you have to do is look to the stars.