Most of the time, the world feels small. It’s the room you’re in. Familiar streets. Your neighborhood.
That’s the illusion though, right? Because we all know the world is … well, it’s really, really big.
You telescope out and it’s fucking big beyond all belief.
It’s a planet, a galaxy, a cosmos. You can’t even get it. Not really. The immensity of it is mostly abstract. Like when you look at a Hubble Space Telescope image that is mesmerizingly beautiful, but you don’t have any real understanding of what it is, not even after you read the description of it, which goes like this:
“The Crab Nebula, the result of a bright supernova explosion … is 6,500 light-years from Earth. At its center is a super-dense neutron star, rotating once every 33 milliseconds, shooting out rotating lighthouse-like beams of radio waves and light — a pulsar (the bright dot at image center). The nebula’s intricate shape is caused by a complex interplay of the pulsar, a fast-moving wind of particles coming from the pulsar, and material originally ejected by the supernova explosion and by the star itself before the explosion.” (https://hubblesite.org/image/4027/gallery/35-supernova-remnants)
I mean, if there’s a quiz you’re fucked. I am, anyway.
I’m a teensy-weensy living being with my teensy brain gazing at the indefinable, the unimaginable, the incomprehensible. Still, I reduce it all down to the Google pin I’ve plotted on the map where I am.
This is the truth to me. My spot on Earth. My field of vision.
I am one conscious being of nearly eight billion on the planet. One of 107 billion who have ever lived. (https://www.prb.org/howmanypeoplehaveeverlivedonearth/)
Yet, I am the center of my world, as you are yours.
My life is a momentary flicker that will wink out and be utterly forgotten in a generation or two. I am destined to be a worn, faded photo in a dusty box someone will look at one day and say to themselves, “I don’t know who this is.” The photo, then, is a thing to be thrown away because it no longer fits a narrative anyone is living.
I am nothing. I am everything. This is the irony, the paradox of being mortal.
Seize it. Love it, every little bit of it, while you can.
Love yourself, your body and soul. Love your family, friends, and tribe. Love strangers if you can. They’re amazing, all of them. Just like you. A flicker in time, occupying a pinpoint in space.
Part of the whole.
Dropped onto the playground of life from the hands of God.
(The “God part” is something I believe, but I don’t mind if you believe that you and I are merely astonishing biological accidents and the universe is simply “one of those things that happens from time to time.” I respect that conclusion and raise a beer to the audacity of my belief and your non-belief.)
Your life. The best gift ever. Can we agree on that?
Play on, brothers and sisters.