As I was driving to church the other morning, my mind wandered. I arrived at Des Moines Street and realized that I had driven most of the commute without paying any attention. I don’t even remember the price of gas (paying attention to gas prices is a habit I picked up from my father). I don’t remember if the light at Irvinedale was red or green. I don’t recall much of anything from the trip.
I drove all the way without much thought of what I was doing or paying attention to much of anything. Hopefully I was a good driver that day. I apologize if my driving caused any issues for any of the unlucky souls that were driving alongside me.
I don’t recall anything extraordinary happening that morning.
It is like that in many aspects of our lives. We can become numb to the extraordinary things in our world and in our lives. We get so busy trying to get from one place to another that we just fly by. There is a whole world out there and often times instead of generating wonder within us, the world just seems to get in the way.
For some of you reading this, you remember a time when there were no pictures of the Earth. The first pictures taken of the Earth were from 1947. These photos were taken from about 100 miles up. At that altitude, the camera could not capture all of the Earth. The photos were able to capture the curvature of the Earth, impressive for the time and awe inspiring because that isn’t our normal view of our globe.
It wasn’t until August 23, 1966, that humanity would receive its first selfie. NASA sent up a lunar orbiter, and it took that first photo and sent it back to Earth. It has the moon in the foreground. Half of the Earth is experiencing nighttime and the other half is illuminated by the Sun.
Fast forward a few years and all we need to do is search the internet for a picture of Earth from space and it pops up so easily. The photo that usually comes up is titled the Blue Marble, taken in 1972. I’m sure we have all seen a photo of Earth taken from space. It appears as Carl Sagan so eloquently puts it, “a pale blue dot in a vast cosmic arena.”
For nearly the entirety of human civilization, we have never been able to look in the mirror. For millennia, there was no way for humans to step back far enough from ourselves and our planet to capture what a small speck of dust we occupy in the universe.
Now in those 70 years or so, we have lost our wonder and the pale blue dot is just that, a pale blue dot. We are no longer in awe of our place in the universe and how special it is. We tend to no longer be in awe of the vastness of the universe or the tiny details of the plants and animals of our world.
Albert Einstein said there are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle. I prefer the second.
Take some time this week to glance up at the heavens – and allow yourself to be in awe.
The heavens declare the glory of God. ~Psalm 19:1
Pastor for Care and Community