The Known

The Known I’ve felt out of control lately.

Like time and life and decisions and past and present have joined together to make of me what they may while I sit and wonder what new conglomeration of circumstance sits around the next corner. The unknowable has pinned in me into place and made me afraid. It’s been a small feeling, big hurting kind of thing. When I find myself in that darkness (I have before and will again), I always turn to the stars. Sometimes I burn along with them on long lonely car rides, sometimes I write under the direction of their light. Last night, I re-gained an understanding of their nature and the universe they make bright.

Earth is a little new sphere sitting in an big old place. There are billions of stars in our galaxy and as they live, each one holds multiple planets - worlds - with the weight of their immense gravity. When the stars die, new ones are born and new worlds are pulled into place. Our galaxy is just one small part of an ever expanding universe. And our universe is just one tiny piece of a currently unknowable whole. The theory now is that our universe - so big we can’t see or comprehend it beyond 13.8 billion light years - is just one of many. That we are in fact part of a multiverse. That all those stars, moving worlds, galaxies and dark matter are held in a tiny bubble in an “infinite ocean of other universes”, each one encapsulated in a tiny bubble of its own.

I knew all this, but it helped to immerse myself in the known and the unknown outside of myself. Sometimes I think my world - the one I’m building in our four walls with kitchen table dinners and prayer and sweat and laughter and tears - is anchored to something too big to feel the reverberations of my heart. In the moments when my eyes are shut against the stars, I wonder how I can move forward against mechanisms that have turned since before our first parents knew their names.

But then I open my understanding to the light. The relative smallness of everything from sky to sun to cosmos helps me to understand the bigness of my existence. If we are in a bubble bouncing against other bubbles that hold entire universes, then my world in four walls is just as grand and important and large as the earth it is planted on. The successes, heartaches, wars over emotion and reason and triumphs of spirit and peace are just as relatively important as the battles and understandings of spirit that have taken place since man and woman first breathed deeply of the air around them.

The realization strikes and I breathe deeply like it is the first time I’ve tasted the air around me. Our apparent diminutiveness does not accurately measure the largeness of our existence.

I may not always be in control, but my life is important and I am the steward of the world I live in. Somehow, blessedly, that knowledge of smallness upon smallness has given me the courage to venture past the space where the gravity of life and situation would hold me.

And I am able once more to rejoice in the known and unknown.