If, for just a moment, you could see us all in the cinematic drama of our lives, watching it as a spectator rather than a participant, you would be able to laugh at the comedy that is life. If you could see the whole world, and perhaps even what is beyond, seeing the eternity of which we are each mere grains of sand, you would realize the insignificance of all our daily woes and delights. Around us spins the seemingly chaotic, grandiose pattern of our universe, so inexplicably vast as to escape all comprehension. Within us, too, whirs biological and psychological gears so complex that we spend lifetimes attempting to solve the puzzles that lie within. Indeed, it is strange to think that we are all a part of this mysterious universe, are this universe, and yet go through life wondering what it’s all for.
I of all people am no more sure of the meaning or purpose of our existence here together than anyone else of the human family. I am a young girl, transitioning to adulthood, with a whole life ahead that, as of now, goes in no direction in particular. There’s a vast world I strive to explore, and because of that the impending decisions of my future career hang dauntingly before me. What are you going to major in? They all ask. What are you going to do with your life? Well, I’ve seen and felt much; the hot, dust-laden winds of the Namib Desert, the cool stone walls of the Hagia Sophia, the golden fields of Bangladesh, and of course the soft sand beaches of Oahu, my home. Yes, these are all sights and feelings, but these are not what made me the person I am today. It was the laughter in the eyes, smiles of the mouth, dimples in the cheek, seen in those many would never dream on which such features could exist. For, my family and I go to these places, countries like Burkina Faso and Bangladesh, to give to people in need. My dad invented a solar cooker we distribute in Africa, and we fund rain catchment systems in Bangladesh, yet all of the material goods we bring to these people are nothing compared to these looks of love and appreciation they return. People I can see have no running water, no guarantee of their next meal, can still give us such genuine shows of appreciation as I have never before witnessed. And for what? Mere means for basic human needs.
I come back to my first-world home after these trips, still seeing the white teeth and tanned skin of those we left behind, and the mundane struggles of everyday life that we all find ourselves complaining about are rendered ridiculous. People endowed with fresh water, an endless variety of foods, as well as houses of comfort, schools to expand our minds, and material possibilities beyond imagination; such people still find ways to feel other than overjoyed with what they have. Even I, after the enchantment of my travels fade, find myself swept back into the tempest of daily life, stressing about homework, worrying about friendships, and the like. But, when it becomes all too real, it is good to zoom out, and see how miniscule we really are in the vast scheme of things, how significantly insignificant we all are. For only you are at the center of your universe.
This is the start of a series of peaks into my little universe, as a new chapter of my life begins, and as we embark on yet another journey around the world this summer. Maybe, if you stick around, you’ll notice another change in me as I continue on my life journey.