There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Mere Speck

I recently traveled to Norway because I decided it was time to overcome my fear of flying.  It was a whirlwind adventure that took me around the entire country by plane, train, boat, bus, and cruiseliner.  There were moments of profound awe as I viewed the immense and beautiful Norwegian landscape. And moments of anxiety as I had to board yet another plane. For the most part, everything went according to plan, but there was a moment on the cruiseliner, when I was being tossed around by stormy seas, that I began to wonder about my need to take this trip, my purpose in life, and my relationship with God.  And this is what I wrote…

It’s funny how people always say, don’t worry…it’s a big plane or a big boat…when trying to calm my nerves about traveling.  But after being here in this beautiful country and witnessing the awesome natural sights, and while sitting on this ship being tossed about like a canoe in these stormy seas, I can tell you this.  I don’t care how big any manmade structure is.  It is, and I am, but a speck on this earth.

I am powerless in the face of the power and size and vastness of nature.  And of  God.

I am constantly asking myself what my purpose is and I always feel guilty that I am not enough. That I am not doing enough. But what can one speck do? Am I here to enjoy life as a series of experiences? Is the pursuit of pleasure my purpose…to go after what I want at all costs? Or is my purpose to make life, which can be so difficult, just a little easier for the next person.

I think of the cab driver who was so pleasant to me as he drove me to this ship.  And the ladies in the hotel reception area who made me and my daughter, two weary travelers, feel so welcome.  And the bus driver, who made one extra stop out of his way, to be sure we were safely at the door to our hotel, knowing we were foreigners and did not know our way around the city.

Ordinary folk doing ordinary work and yet having such a profound impact on me, a mere speck.  Is that ultimately what it’s all about?  Small, loving acts of kindness towards other humans, other specks, as we drift through our own individual life journeys?  It doesn’t matter, I suppose, our job titles, our address, our bank account.  The only thing that matters is how we make each other feel.  Each day, every day, all day.

I think of the author, the musician, the screenwriter, who moves us to feel. A song that brings us back in time. A book we connect with. Small things. Chance encounters. The opportunity to meet other specks. Become involved, care for, meet the needs of…all while appreciating the vast beauty of this great earth we all share. And why? Because we can.  We each have one life. A small life with great impact, if we but chose to see it.

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