On a very long drive home from San Luis Obispo yesterday, I was struck by how insignificant I am. There were thousands of other people on the same LA freeway each with their own destination in mind. Recognizing that I am one of three billion people on this planet makes it nearly impossible to take myself too seriously. After all, if you look at it purely as a numbers game, each of us are pretty replaceable. And when you realize that the person in the car next to you has their own life, their own problems and worries, and their own feelings of importance, you realize what happens in your life doesn’t have that great effect on the overall trajectory of the universe.For me, my insignificance is a source of comfort. It’s a reminder that I’m not in charge, but I know the One who is. It’s also a reminder that nothing I do, good or bad, is going to have the type of earth-shattering result that I often worry about. After all, even if I accidentally say or do the wrong thing, relatively speaking, the fault zone is going to be minor. Now I understand that to the person I say or do the wrong thing its going to matter a LOT, but they’re just one of three billion people on this planet too.
In sharp contrast to this reverie of nonimportance – today is my birthday. Because I have exceptional family and friends, it was a day of constant reminders that I matter – that I have been blessed with people in my life who not only care about what happens to me, but are personally invested in the outcome. I am who I am for a number of reasons, but none of those reasons have to do with trying to receive accolades or attention. In fact, I tend to try to avoid them both. Today’s lesson was that despite my desire to reside under the radar, what I do is significant, at least for the people in my life who I treasure and for indescribable reasons choose to treasure me. My impact may be small, but to them, it’s important.
I still choose to take repose in my insignificant standing in the universe. There’s an oft unrecognized blessing in it and I think it’s good to take other people seriously, but to look at one’s own life with sober joviality. Recognizing one’s blessings helps to accomplish that. In recognizing the good, the bad diminishes in prevalence. For me, the blessings are inummerable. Today I am reminded of one of the most important – I have people in my life who choose to show me love and who make today. and every day, significant.