There is a swirl. We are in it. Our human minds.
Mine sure can clip right along, from one thought to the next. I might be thinking about fixing a chicken salad sandwich, and then 15 minutes later, I find myself lost in deep thought about the life expectancy of moths.
I was thinking about a lot of different things, earlier today. Like, this is Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s birthday. I reflected on how very much I liked him as an actor, and I miss him that way. But he was troubled. Sideways. As a result, he died of an overdose of combined drugs in 2014.
That led me to Amy Winehouse — another troubled soul. She was so very talented as a musician, as a singer. A voice right from heaven. But she couldn’t calm those demons in her head. She was rude and obnoxious, and even mean. And, she did a lot of drugs and alcohol. She too died by her own hand. Winehouse drank and drank and drank one day. It was this day in 2011. And it poisoned her to death.
Death seemed to be a reoccurring theme this morning. I was then, struck once again, by the tragedy in Branson, MO, where 17 people died on that Duck Boat Excursion. There one minute. Gone the next. No one could have known. But there it went, for 17.
Events swirl all around us, each day. Every minute, really. There is an unending stream of energy which flows all around us, underneath, behind, and over. A soup of time and space and mass projected at the speed of light. Squared.
Sometimes, we nod right off. In the very midst of it. Who doesn’t feel like a nap with all these rumpuses and incidents, bumping around right before our very eyes? Then other times, we are filled with it. This flow of life-stuff might make us happy, excited, sad, or afraid. It depends on what the time or the space might bring. A birthday cake. A bee sting.
We, humans, know this well. Our brains started perceiving this plane when we popped our little heads out of the birth canal and said, “Well looky who’s here.”
But we don’t know what to think when it ends. We’ve only seen this grand thing, through hearts, and minds, which are alive. We don’t know what this looks like when the body falls silent. When the breath leaves.
We only know it through those around us. The ones that have gone. And it makes us sad. Every hour, on this ball, about 6,000 people die. One hundred per minute. In the time you’ve taken to read this, 200 people have passed. A lot of families and friends left behind, to continue with their energy equation. This life.
But in the midst of all of this, in any given minute, twice that many are born. Those brand new arrivals on Runway 8. And that is a whole other thing, isn’t it?
All of this observing — this seeing — brings a sort of awareness in ourselves. In me, at least, it elicits a feeling of awe. Of majesty. Of inspiration. The grander, greater, scope of things, is all around us, in every minute. Even chicken-salad-sandwich-minutes.
On 60 Minutes last night, one report about the Hubble Telescope, reminded me that there are more stars in our Universe, than there are grains of sand on our planet. If that does not attune you to the truth of the bigger picture, I don’t know what will.
But in that bigness, we here on earth are connected to one another. By the planet which is beneath our feet. We are all standing together, on this tiny dot of dirt, floating in a hugely big, big space. We need to start figuring this out. Our interdependency. Our need for one another. To live in the spirit of togetherness. That is where it needs to begin. The way of the swirl.
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
― May Sarton
“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”
― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
“I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.”
― Paul Simon