I turned 27 four days ago. Last year, for the first time, when people asked me if I felt older, I responded by saying yes. Looking back, I am not exactly sure why. Something just felt different, heavier maybe, with the way that I experienced the world, and my own body. And it is shocking to think that 365 days have passed since then. I feel I have changed a lot in the past couple years – discovered parts of myself that have probably been waiting for me to catch up, or maybe even slow down. And discovered ways of experiencing the world that I was too scared or naive to understand.
It was clear and cold and beautiful tonight. As I spent time in the early darkness of the sky, the crescent moon with its pointed ivory fingers, reaching out towards the glowing presence of Venus and Jupiter, I felt small. In the vastness of space and time I am barely a speck of existence, of life, and I thought, in an abstract and overwhelming way, I am barely even here. And for a moment it was good to know that I am an anonymous one in a species of more than seven million. My shoulders slumped a bit, not out of defeat, but some kind of awareness that I am yet to fully understand. That space between my eyebrows relaxed and I was allowed to just be – for a moment. I was not on my way to or from anywhere. I was not late or hungry or sad or anything at all. Tonight, for a very short time, I did not have the future of the world weighing heavy on my mind. I was simply one person, no more significant than any other, staring at the same moon and stars as anyone else on this earth who took the time to do so. And in reflection, I have no words to express the feeling or lack of feeling that was me in that moment.
Relief? …I hope not. I hope I am not one who would find, in moments of clarity, comfort in my own insignificance. I have always felt partial to the uniqueness of the few over the popular and common story of the many. I have always understood the world in that change and people and belief, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can and does matter, and that this is what truly represents our humanity.
To think of the destruction taking place – animals being stripped of their ability to exist, the degree to which our land and water is polluted, the greed and agenda that dominates the political framework around the world. And what is there to do? Does bringing reusable bags to the market really make a difference? So what if I drive less. So what if I stop eating meat, choose to buy local and organic and in season. If my significance barely even exists in the vast complexity of this planet, does my effort to make a difference really matter?! Simply, I think yes. And I think that demonstrating this degree of intentionality in the choices that we can make, in the face of the choices that are overwhelmingly out of our control, we do make a difference.
So, while I am small under the glow of the moon, I am still here. And as long as I know I am here, I am able to make a difference.
A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC
There’s a light on in the attic. Though the house is dark and shuttered, I can see a flickerin’ flutter, And I know what it’s about. There’s a light on in the attic. I can see it from the outside, And I know you’re on the inside . . . lookin’ out.