My wife and I once spent a lovely vacation near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. One night I woke up and went to the back porch to look at the stars. I saw them more clearly than at any other time in my life. As I let the reality of the vision sink in, I was filled with awe, and then joy. I don’t know how I got back to sleep.
Awe, because I knew I was looking at something I couldn’t comprehend. There are about 200 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy. And scientists estimate that our galaxy is only one of about 2 trillion other galaxies. The star nearest to us (aside from the sun) is Proxima Centauri, only 4.3 light years away. I say only, but that equates to over 25 trillion miles away. The nearest large galaxy is Andromeda, 2.5 million light years away, which appears as a tiny star, though it is larger than our Milky Way galaxy. That’s an unimaginable amount of space between celestial bodies.
As I said, it was impossible to comprehend. All I could react with was awe and joy that I was a part of what I was looking at.
The last time I was close to a small child, I felt a similar inability to understand what I was looking at. Not being a physician, for me the human body is impossible to comprehend – too complex, too amazing. Not to mention my inability to appreciate the child’s perceptions, memories, thoughts, feelings, values, imaginings, learnings, desires, etc., all of which are still evolving and will never stop growing.
Awe as I beheld the reality of this complex young being who would someday be an adult human dealing with the myriad challenges of life. Awe, and then joy.
I wish you moments like that, when you are completely present for the reality of your child and can experience this kind of awe and joy yourself. It’s the best kind of love.