The world is big. Incomprehensibly so. It seems barely manageable when you look at it from your community, your immediate surroundings. But there are so many levels of impracticality in that, that there’s no point actually trying to go through them all.
I sit in my chair, curled up into a ball, trying to make myself small, because that’s how I feel. But that’s an understatement, isn’t it? Or is it the opposite, since ‘small’ rather overestimates my size? Minute. Miniscule. Infinitesimal. But those are hardly more appropriate.
If you’ve ever been high (literally), you may have seen the ground below you dotted with people like flies, walking about, all in the name of doing things they believe are important, or trying to achieve importance. How well is it working, really? How far are you going to get in trying to make a name for yourself when the world so, well, big? Hitler was ‘important.’ But despite what you might think, not everyone knows his name. Not everyone even knows Jesus’ name, so what are we even trying to prove?
When you look at things from farther away, I suppose they’re supposed to get smaller. The world works the opposite way, it appears. The farther away you step, the more there is to see. The more land your eyes can cover. The more the world gets bigger and bigger and bigger, till your own eyes can’t even make out anything distinctive. And still, the limit of your vision isn’t even half of half of a sixteenth of a sixtieth of what’s out there. God is wonderful, you know?
But how do we, mere mortals, boldly tell ourselves that we want to make it big? Compared to the size of the universe, how ‘big,’ really, is our ‘big’? How many people need to know our names before we are satisfied that we’ve made it? Especially since our numbers keep growing. Especially since there are billions of us, literally. Our planet is teeming with beings with our same capacity, beings that just might get it into their heads that they want to do what we want to do first. How crazy is that?
Sometimes, it seems a rather hopeless case, and I feel like giving up. Curl up into a ball and make myself small, because that’s how I feel. There are too many people and the world is too big to make yourself of any true significance.
And yet – and yet, there are people who acknowledge your existence. The world is big, but the whole world is not everyone’s world. Each person only belongs to a rather small portion of this vastness, and you’re part of someone else’s.
‘I fear oblivion,’ he said without a moment’s pause. ‘I fear it like the proverbial blind man who’s afraid of the dark.’
-Augustus Waters from John Green’s ‘The Fault In Our Stars’
But if there’s anything Hazel taught Augustus, and me through him, it’s that sometimes, our universe is way smaller than we imagined. Perhaps our eyes have limits so we may know where to focus, and who to focus on. Perhaps we are meant to achieve relevance to the people who deem us to be so. So, if I’m important to you, I’m glad to be achieving my purpose.
There are so many people I could be looking at, but your eyes are the only ones that can actually meet mine. Population over seven billion, but your hand is the one that I can comfortably touch and feel.
The world is incomprehensibly vast, but now I know that mine, at least, right now, isn’t.