Some night when there’s a new moon with very few clouds in the sky I want you to go somewhere away from city lights and just look up at the stars. Just stare at the vastness. Realize that each one of those tiny specks of light is farther away than our human brains can truly fathom. Ponder over the fact that in between each of those pinpricks you see is another star, that the estimated number of stars in the universe is approximately the same number of cells in the seven billion human beings on planet Earth.
Now, while you’re still looking up at the stars, starting to understand just how incomprehensibly numerous they are, I want you also to think about how massive stars are. Stars are big. They’re really big. Our very own neighborhood star, the sun, is big enough to fit about 1.3 million Earths inside. Impressive? Well, try to wrap your brain around this one: the largest known star, affectionately known as VY Canis Majoris is large enough that, were it placed in the center of our solar system would engulf it past the orbit of Saturn (although some astrophysicists say that’s being generous and it would actually only extent past Mars [because that makes it so much less mind-blowing]).
When I came into college I was an astrophysics major. I love science and everything about outer space fascinates me. I quickly learned that science classes aren’t for me and changed my major to English, but I’m still enthralled by the unknown of the universe. After reengaging my right brain with my English classes, I realized what it is that I love so much about science.
I love the unknown. I love finding out little facts about the universe. I picture God as a parent watching his children hunt for easter eggs, and when we find something out about His amazing creation, Him smiling and saying, “Isn’t that cool? I hid that there just for you!” It makes me want to go learn everything there is about everything (but unfortunately that seems to be more on the impossible side of the spectrum).
Not only that, but I really like the feeling of pure insignificance when I study the universe. We are so small. Our lives are frail and make up an infinitesimal amount of time considering the vastness of the past and the future. It’s very unlikely that I’ll do anything that will make my name known in my lifetime or that many people will remember me so many years after my death. But you know what? That’s okay.
I don’t have to be rich and famous when I die. So many people judge an important life based on earthly measures. But significance doesn’t mean becoming a household name. It doesn’t mean being in a certain pay bracket. It doesn’t even mean going to third world countries living with and giving to the poor. I’m not saying that any of those are bad, but you can lead a significant life while working a nine to five job in a generic office building. You see, despite our obvious insignificance, God created us special and knows each of us by name.
Before he knit you together in your mother’s womb he knew you. The Creator of the universe, the Earth maker, star breather, cares for you and desires to have a relationship with you. If that isn’t significant, I don’t know what is. So revel in your anonymity. Be the you God created you to be. Be significant in your insignificance.