I woke up with a jolt.
Something wasn’t right.
I sat up in bed and surveyed my surroundings. Pale blue light seeped lazily through the slats in the vertical blinds, and my husband slept, undisturbed, next to me. No children stirred down the hall, no bird welcome the day with his song.
I’d heard something. It was a pop. Or a bang. Or a…I don’t know. But now all was silent. All I could hear was my own heart pounding in my ears as I became aware of the cool beads of perspiration lining my forehead.
I scanned the room, the doorway, and listened.
I looked at the clock. 4:00 am.
All was silent, but for the gentle rise and fall of my husband’s breath as he slumbered beneath the covers.
I eased myself back onto the pillow and fell into a fitful sleep.
Later that morning while scanning the news, I was made aware of what had roused me.
A large asteroid had entered earth’s atmosphere, causing a sonic boom and hundreds of meteorites to scatter all over central and southern Arizona.
A strange feeling washed over me when I read that. Kind of like that feeling you get just after the roller coaster clicks over the crest of the tallest drop.
While I had spent the previous week working, cooking, folding laundry and playing with my kids, this massive rock had been on it’s own journey. It had hurtled towards earth with God-only-knows-what speed, and God-only-knows how many others could potentially join it.
I could suddenly see in my mind’s eye the vast expanse of outer space and all the magnificent goings on that would steal our breath and bring us to our knees in awe if we were to witness them firsthand.
A feeling overwhelmed me. A feeling similar to when I had awoken to the news that our friends halfway around the world had experienced a large earthquake. We were going to the grocery store and talking about schooling for the fall, while their livelihood was being threatened in a dramatic and violent way.
Or like the feeling I got standing on the end of the pier looking down in the dark depths of the Pacific Ocean, imagining all the amazing and wondrous creatures stirring below.
I spend so much time focusing on my momentary and immediate wants and needs, and so little time considering the vast enormity of everything else.
Suddenly I feel like that beloved cartoon character standing beneath the expansive night sky shouting, “I’m significant!”
Except I know that I’m not.
In no universe, other than my own, am I the center-point. There’s no version of this story of humanity in which I am the fulcrum about which the rest of creation swings.
It’s in these moments — these momentous, yet altogether mundane moments — that the severity of my insignificance smacks with the full force of a thousand hurricanes.
In the grand scheme of things, my plans, my agendas, my purposes, don’t mean a single solitary thing.
I am utterly and completely insignificant.
Not in a self-deprecating, I-have-nothing-to-bring-to-the-world sort of way.
I’m insignificant in the most gloriously significant way.
When I see my true place in this majestic, glorious, chaotic and dangerous world, it is then that I am truly free to fulfill the deeper purpose for which I was placed here.
It’s when I realize the petty nature of my shallow desires that I am released to pursue the dreams and callings of eternal significance.
When I remove any claim — albeit a false claim because nothing was ever mine to begin with — of control of my surroundings, I am empowered to reach out with love and compassion to my fellow brothers and sisters traveling this sod of earth alongside me.
I hope to never lose the wonder, and terror, of moments like I had the other night. I don’t want to forget the awe and trembling of the unfettered realization that there is something so much bigger, more powerful, more wild and dangerous, yet more compassionate at the helm. And that He owes me no explanation.
And while I walk along the daily to-do’s and want-to-do’s and passionate-to-do’s of this life, I never want to lose the awareness that there are infinitely more things, people, heartache and joy happening all around me than what I can see with my feeble eyes.
And I never want to stop being grateful for the opportunity to realize my own insignificance.