Thursday, January 6, 2011
LIVING ON A HUMDRUM STAR
Years ago I remember standing at the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago, looking down on the city. I stood there for a while mesmerized by the lights and distant noise of the city and the miniature match box size cars hurrying somewhere of great importance and ant-sized people scurrying about the city. I whispered to the friend I was with, "Do you realize that down there someone is crying, someone is laughing, someone is afraid, someone is yelling, someone is mourning, someone is being born and someone is dying?"
It was an eye opener. It made me feel insignificant and infinitesimal. And some how, awkwardly, it made me feel important to be a small part of it all, peddling as fast as I can trying to make a tiny little difference on this huge old planet that certainly seems small in comparison. Reminded of the words of Carl Sagan, I located this quote from a man I have admired for decades.
"Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people."
~ Carl Sagan
We look in anger and frustration and disbelief at people who have intentionally gone out of their way to hurt us. We look ahead and fear the future, that we might lose our job or a loved one, or our health, or our lifestyle, or who knows what. While all the while, the place we really need to be is right here, right now, right this minute.
"Do not look back in anger, or forward in fear , but around in awareness."
I would add to this to look around in awe! I take deep breaths at night before I go to sleep and in the morning when I awaken, I know what a grand thing it is to simply be alive. Knowing that I have survived the challenges of the past and that I will survive the challenges of the future, brings me solace.
Today it is important to end with a quote from Samuel Beckett, it seems appropriate to my life right now. "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." We try. We fail. We learn from our failures. But we need to fail new ways, not because we are stuck in a rut. We are all part of a very complex world where to some degree we are like the tiny ant like people seen from the top of the Sears Tower. And we grow each time we fail. My idea of winning and success is that every time I fail, I maintain my integrity, my optimism and my compassion.