In October 2007, I took a solo road trip up to Connecticut to see my sister. She was living there at the time and it was close to her birthday. Once I got there, a massive road trip around New England, the northeast, and Canada commenced.
I’m not here to tell the story of my trip to Connecticut and back by myself or even the story of my sister and me on an adventure together. Well, not all of it anyway.
When my sister and I were going all over God’s creation together, we ended up in Maine, staying at a Bed & Breakfast friends of hers owned that was over an antique shop in Bucksport. We stayed there two nights.
On the first night, her friends that owned the antique shop and B&B invited us out to their house out in the Maine wilderness (that makes it sound like a cabin in the woods–but it was a freaking sweet house) for dinner and drinks with their friends and family.
We got there just before dark–and it’s a good thing because finding this place out in the middle of nowhere was a struggle. A fun struggle, but still a struggle.
My sister’s friend Annie had made a salad, lasagna, bread, dessert, and they had all manner of “adult beverages” on hand for said dinner. Roy, her husband, was quite the raconteur, and the rest of the family were really nice. We had a great dinner. My sister enjoyed the libations. I was a teetotaler that night due to the fact that I was the designated driver and also recovering from a respiratory infection that had begun on my way up to the northeast and had plagued us while we were in Boston.
After dinner, beer, wine, and tequila shots, as well as a very loud game of cards, all of us went outside to cool off. The huge house felt incredibly hot to all of the drinkers, I suppose.
In this area of the country, and especially out in the middle of nowhere in this area of the country, there is very little light pollution. I walked across the porch, stepped down into the yard and stretched, leaning my head back.
I had never seen stars quite like this before. There weren’t just stars–but swirls of stars, blankets of stars, stars that seemed to be within stars. Swirling, curling, blinking, twinkling, in so many constellations and formations that my puny mind couldn’t understand more than one at a time.
I felt so small.
I felt supremely insignificant.
And the immensity of that feeling was as close to having a religious experience as I’ve ever been.
It is noted that scientists estimate that the odds of a person being born are 1 in 400 trillion. Not that the possibility of life being created from a sexual encounter is 1 in 400 trillion, but that the life that is created then turning into exactly the person that you are–your exact genes, your hair color, your personality, your eyes, your fingerprints, your hair follicles, how you prefer your coffee, the way you bite at your lip when you’re nervous–that’s a universal crap shoot.
I looked up at those stars and felt so small and so insignificant there on the surface of the Earth, looking up and out at infinity. And feeling that small made me grateful. It filled my lungs with air. Made my eyes water up. Made me smile.
Literally, stars collided and exploded and new materials were created to bring me to life as who I am, where I am, when I am.
The universe created me to be who I am, where I am, when I am–when it had almost an infinite number of other choices.
But I am one of the trillions of trillions of trillions of life forms throughout this near infinity, and I play such a tiny role in everything that there are no quantifiable means to measure that. But I am here. Because the universe decided that I was to be billions of years ago.
That’s a pretty big thing.
When I give back, offer kindness, offer information, make people laugh, make someone’s day nicer, help a person who is in need, I am thanking the universe for my creation. For a decision made billions of years ago. I am a tiny cog in a vastly enormous machine helping it to continue working–I am immense in my smallness.
Being small is not nearly as insignificant as people seem to believe.
Until next time…