I think, Jim, you confuse religion with spirituality or leave out one for the other. I have learned not to depend upon organized religion, and depend on those things I feel in my soul.
My spirituality tells me that the stars DO care. No matter what happens, the reflect back the light as we lowly humans gaze upwards.
As faithfully as the sun rises each day, the stars shine at night giving us solace, support and the knowledge that the universe is unfolding as it should.
The shedding of leaves in fall, as much as the melting of snow in spring, gives us comfort.
Nature exists in its diurnal, and quarterly solstices, to let us know that no matter what we can look forward to the new joys that will fill our lives. I seek solace in the daily changes that occur in my world. I see the leaves change and believe
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
I can count on Fall for these reasons: it is the firm belief, founded in my spirituality, that we can depend upon this world to teach us.
I can depend upon the winter to bring yet another newly painted canvas - as free art gallery and a feast for the eyes, as well as the soul. I revel in my adaptation and response to nature, as much as to the circumstances of my life. It is how we grow, adapt, and learn about us and our world.
My mother, for example, had two miscarriages and then adopted me and my brother. She mourned and then moved on. She accepted, with her Christian faith, that this was her lesson. I felt, all my life, that I was 'chosen'. I met my birth mother when in my 30s, and realized the the universe sent me where I needed to go. I was given opportunities I would not have had, and learned much from my adoptive family. In giving palliative care to my parents the lessons continued.
These are all lessons, and the universe sends them again until we learn them. I wish you well on your classroom experience.