The photo above was handed out at a Bible Study Group I go to on Tuesday nights. The bold headline below the photo read "Blazing Black Holes Spotted in Spiral Beauty." The "Spiral Beauty" is a galaxy known as Caldwell 5 and the two magenta spots in the photo are two black holes. We gazed at it in awe as the leader of our group, an admitted astronomy buff, explained that this galaxy is millions of light years away. And huge. Really, really HUGE. Oh, and it is not our galaxy. It is just one of millions of galaxies in our solar system.
On hearing this, the woman sitting next to me said: "It's a relief, isn't it?"
I laughed and nodded but I wasn't sure yet what she meant. A relief?
I had been looking at Caldwell 5 and thinking, "Oh my goodness. This galaxy is just one of millions? You mean the Milky Way is just one of millions?! We are soooo small. Our planet is so small. Our country, our state...ME! I am so small. So insignificant."
She calls this a relief? Her comment spun me around like zero gravity.
Then I got it.
I leaned over toward her, pointed my finger right in the sparkly center of Caldwell 5 and asked with a twinkle in my eye and a big grin, "So you mean, I am not right here?"
Now it was her turn to laugh.
Oh, yes, what a relief it is indeed, to stop thinking the whole world, the whole galaxy, revolves around ME.
What a relief it is to stop thinking my achy knee and itchy eyes are a major health concern.
What a relief to know that my workplace woes do not loom as big in real life, in the overall scheme of things, as they do in my mind.
What a relief to know that my struggles - my family heart breaks - the cancer, the back surgery, the slips and falls and depression and unemployment and travel mishaps are just tiny blips on my radar - blips that don't even register outside my home, let alone on NASA's fine tuned instruments.
This doesn't mean they aren't important.
But for goodness sake, it was about time I put them in perspective. They had blown up like a star and their debris was clouding up my field of vision. I was in danger of being sucked into the black hole of self-absorption and depression.
Yes, what a relief to know that I am not the Center of the Universe.
What a relief to know WHO IS.
-Hope A. Horner, 2012
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