When the universe came into being, creating itself in the big bang, everything that ever would be came into being at the same time. The stuff of the universe — stardust, to be romantic — has been connecting and disconnecting, rearranging itself in an infinity of shapes and forms, for billions of years. Eons ago, it learned how to create life, and during one such moment of procreation, it constructed a semblance of a human being. A million years later, our present species came into being, and many thousands of years after that, I was born. I am of the universe, perpetually a part of it. Although my body seems to be a thing in and of itself, it continues to exchange matter with its surroundings. In a quantum sense, my few electrons are indistinguishable from the whole.
Here I am, a creature born of stardust, at once eternal and ephemeral, physical and psychical, emotional and logical, alive yet forever dying.
Everything that ever happened on earth and in the universe since the beginning has culminated in a single person — me. Everything that happened in my life has created the person I am now. So what is the point of being me? I found my answer quite by accident a couple of days ago.
I was walking in the desert, ruminating over my petty concerns. Although I am coming to an accommodation with continuing to write despite lackluster sales, I still am not comfortable with the idea of being a writer among millions of other writers — never have liked being a face in the crowd.
So there I was, walking, thinking, talking a bit to my deceased mate, when it suddenly dawned on me that at that very moment, I was not a face in the crowd. There was no crowd — just me. I stopped and looked around. A jackrabbit loped by, but other than that, no creature made itself known. I felt the breeze cooling my sweat, heard the air whistling faintly as it passed my ears. I stilled my thoughts and simply stood there in the middle of the desert, deep blue skies above, sun-warmed soil beneath the soles of my shoes, desert knolls surrounding me and blocking any view of the nearby city.
A friend who has endured far worse grief than I have, told me that she is finding peace by telling herself that she is happy. Alone out there in the desert, I decided I was finally ready to take the next step in going on with my life, so I thought, “I am happy.” And I realized that was the truth of it. Right then, I was happy. I had no sense of longing for something or someone, no sense of waiting. My entire life — all the joys and pains, the learning and creating, the loves and losses — had led to that very moment, and I felt as if I had arrived where I was supposed to be. There was no reason for me to be there, nothing to for me to do, no task to accomplish. All I had to do was simply . . . be.
What about you? What do you do with the miracle of stardust that is you? How do you celebrate your connection to the unfolding universe?
Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I.All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!