Posted by: mesabimisadventures | October 13, 2009

The Significance of Insignificance

I held onto his wing as tightly as I dared.  Attempting to be gentle in my grasp, but firm in my positioning as we quietly and quickly attempted to free his feathers from the mud that had held him captive.  We marvelled at his strength even in this moment of vulnerability and weakness.  His lone functioning eye looked towards us as we brainstormed strategies to clean him up, dry him off and warm his tired body so that he could take flight and soar overhead once again.

His other eye, clouded with a cataract, stared into nothingness.

For a brief Friday afternoon of our lives we had been entrusted by Nature to protect and nurse the Creation.  For a brief Friday afternoon we were significant.

How many of us have looked up into the skies on a clear summer night, gazed upon the neverending Universe and felt insignificant?  With all of the stars and the planets and galaxies upon galaxies, how can one little life matter?  How can our life matter to the Universe?

Look into the forests, wetlands, lakes, farm fields, or perhaps down your city streets.  Think about the critters that survive and thrive in those areas.  The birds of prey, the songbirds, the mice, the squirrels, the deer, the etc. etc.  Are you still significant?  Do you really need to look up into the heavens to recognize your insignificance?  Your wonderful, gloriously liberating insignificance?

The eagle we rescued from a painful drawn-out death didn’t care about my 401K, my graduate degree, or that my jeans were incredibly flattering that day.  It just didn’t.  It cared that I was kind to it.  The grasshoppers that divebomb me when hiking don’t care that I can’t do double-digit multiplication in my head or that I don’t live in a fancy house.  They only care that I try my best to not crunch down on them.  They only care that I am kind.

We all want to be significant.  We want people to notice, to applaud, to give us pats on the back.  We want people to be proud of us or perhaps envious of us.  But the skies above us and the ground below us (that is teeming with life seemingly unimpressed by us) silently scream to us that we are insignificant.  Accomplishments matter not to the asteroids that orbit.  

We strive to be immortal, if not in body at least in spirit.  We strive to be remembered.  We strive to be significant.

Applause fades.  Fortunes are spent (if not by you then by those you follow you).  Professional accolades are forgotten in our minds and others’, even if they live on, inscribed on a dusty brass plaque on the wall.

Memories of a kind deed rarely fade away.  When people move on from this dimension to the next, the mourners rarely grieve for the loss of intelligence or curvy hips or ability to balance a checkbook.

They grieve for the loss of a kind soul who committed kind acts with a kind heart. 

They grieve for the moments of significance in a Universe of insignificance.

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