Friday, March 14, 2014

On Being Insignificant...and Significant

Lately, I have frankly become obsessed with two seemingly unconnected things - the remake of Cosmos and Mount Everest.

I know, right?

But, in my mind they have become relevant to each other.  They speak to me about where we all fit in.  Don't worry, I'll explain...or attempt to.

On Wednesday night, Bryce, Cole, Jack, and I started watching the first episode of Cosmos that we had recorded.  I found it to be absolutely beautiful, imaginative, and a tad overwhelming.  I found myself wresting with that age-old inability to imagine just how big this amazing universe is.  Even thinking about how far we are away from the next planet in our solar system seemed impossible.  Just when I began to wander down the prim-rose path of my own insignificance, the host, Neil deGrasse Tyson (who I could probably listen to for hours) remarked that we may be small, but our dreams are big.

This leads me to my connection to Mount Everest.  I just finished a book for book club called "Into Thin Air."  Shan suggested it, and I am so glad for the chance to read and discuss a book I may otherwise have ignored.  I absolutely loved the book, and couldn't stop reading it.  Basically, it is one man's personal account of a day on Mt. Everest in which 8 people died.  Reading it, I kept asking myself why any one would subject their bodies and families to this kind of torture.  The author said it best:

"Above the comforts of Base Camp, the expedition in fact became an almost Calvinistic undertaking. The ratio of misery to pleasure was greater by an order of magnitude than any mountain I'd been on; I quickly came to understand that climbing Everest was primarily about enduring pain. And in subjecting ourselves to week after week of toil, tedium and suffering, it struck me that most of us were probably seeking above all else, something like a state of grace.”

This brings me to what I have come to realize about us humans.  Our ability to "think big," to dream, and to create even in the face of setbacks and pain sets us apart.  While my simple wishes and musings may not be much on the grand scheme of things, they are significant simply because I think them.

deGrasse Tyson pretty much summed it up:

"All you can do is sit back and bask in your relevance to the cosmos.  When I look up at the universe, I know I'm small, but I'm also big.  I'm big because I'm connected to the universe and the universe is connected to me."

1 comment:

Nancy Allen said...

Interesting comments...something to think about. I'm convinced we're not alone in this universal place, but try not to let it overwhelm me.