A Little Perspective

“Dost thou think thyself a puny form when the universe is folded up within thee?” 
– The Imám ‘Alí (quoted by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Secrets of Divine Civilization)

The Muse (12) and I were chatting about the universe over breakfast this morning. She was reading some facts out of a Magic Tree House Research Guide about space.

Did you know that besides our sun, the closest star to us is a little more than four light years away? More than 24 trillion miles. I can’t even begin to picture that.

Also, some of those stars we gaze at in the sky probably don’t even exist anymore. In the time it takes for their light to reach our eyeballs (which can be tens of thousands of years), some of those stars have up and gone kaput. So we’re seeing something that isn’t really there. That blows my mind.

And when you consider that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth, and that our closest star is 24 trillion miles away, and our galaxy alone is 100,000 light years across, and there are something like 100 billion galaxies in the universe . . . well, my brain just imploded.

So here we are, microscopic specks on a tiny blue marble floating around in the vast ocean of space. Totally insignificant in the big picture. Nothings, truly.

And yet, here we are.

And we’re so clearly not nothings here in our little corner of the cosmos. We are anything but insignificant, especially in the eyes of our children. In the beginning, we are their whole universe. We are it. Gradually, they find out that there is more to life than us, but even then we remain the center of their world for a long time.

So as a mother, on a microcosmic level, for a short period of time . . .

You are the universe.


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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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