On Friday Carrie and I visited the Dyer Observatory in Nashville for their public telescope night. We were able to use two telescopes that night to observe Jupiter and Venus. In the picture above you can see Jupiter as a tiny dot in the night sky. It was a pretty clear night and you could see Jupiter’s bands and three of it’s moons. You can’t help but feel a sense of awe while looking at this giant. The earth is such a tiny place compared to Jupiter.
It’s incredible to think about the size of everything. There are at least 200 billion galaxies out there with an estimated 10^24 planets. That’s a lot! I can’t even begin to image how many planets that is. When I start to think about how large everything is, it’s easy for me to start to think about how insignificant we are in the big picture. Just thinking about that helps me put things into perspective. How little do the things we do matter. The computer programs that I work so hard on, irrelevant. The meetings that frustrate me a work, doesn’t matter. The cultural change that we are trying so hard to instill in our organization; waste of time. The clutter in our home; who cares.
Little Girl: “What’s your favorite planet?”
Me: “I think it’s Saturn. I’ve always thought it was interesting.”
Carrie: “Mine’s the Earth.”
Duh. Of course it’s the Earth. Compared to the rest of the universe, the Earth is small. It’s small compared to most of the other planets in our galaxy. But it’s special. It’s the only planet that we know for a fact that supports life. And it’s our home. And it doesn’t feel small to me. When I go to work it takes me 40 minutes to get there. That’s pretty far. It’s 11 hours to go see my folks. And when I do my work it takes me a long time to get that program to run just right. And I never seem to have enough time to clean the house; or work on my projects; or to spend enough time with Carrie.
The Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. The universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old. I’m 40 years old. That’s not very old. If I’m lucky, I have another 60 years that belong to me. I can do anything I want with it. Everything before I can’t change. But the rest of it, I can choose what I do with it. That makes it very valuable and significant to me. And it helps to give me clarity and strength to live the life I want to live and to make sure that I’m working on the things that I think are important.
I kinda like that.