December 14, 2011
Every day, I spend my waking hours immersed in my own little drama. I think ceaselessly about all the tasks I need to do for work, all the chores I need to do at home. I obsess over my to-do list, which seems to only grow longer, no matter how much I do. I feel guilty about all the things I don’t get around to each day — like updating this website. Some days, I think about people who are building hospitals in Haiti or running global organizations or raising foster children, and I wonder why I can’t even seem to keep my small ordinary life in order. That leads to wondering how I got so ordinary; where along the line did I miss the turn toward becoming extraordinary? And then, always in the background, is the fear that we all carry with us. The fear of losing our things, our money, our loved ones. Sometimes the knowledge of all we have to lose in this life feels overwhelming. All these thoughts and worries and to-do’s expand until I feel like they are all there is in the world. My little drama seems to fill up every square inch of space.
But every night, just before bed, when it is dark and still, I step out on my back porch and look up at the sky. I spend a minute or two noticing the stars or the clouds or the moon, thinking about the vastness of the universe and all the galaxies spinning and pulsating in incalculable, unending space. And I remember, just briefly, how small and insignificant I am. I remember that, in the scheme of things, what I do or fail to do means virtually nothing. I remember that I am not in control, that I am but a speck in an unfathomable universe. I realize that, at that scale, nothing is so frightening as it seems–because whatever the outcome, the planets keep spinning and the stars keep burning and life goes on. I remember that my story is essentially meaningless. And I am so relieved.
And then I go back inside, and without even noticing, slip back into my own little drama.