Are we special?
Science is nearly ready to answer that question in a way that wasn’t possible a decade ago.
120 trillion miles from here scientists say they have found what appears to be an Earth-like planet that may be just warm enough and wet enough to make the chemistry of life possible.
Our special place in the universe is about to be challenged. We may not be alone.
So much of life’s meaning is connected to a feeling that we are special. From religion to education to management, the means may be different, but the ends are the same: to affirm each person’s uniqueness, each person’s right to be different; to make each person feel special about themselves, their abilities, their relationships, their potential.
So today, we learn we may not have such a special place among the stars. So what?
Being special was never about being alone. To be truly special requires the attention of another human being. A gift given by one person to another; at arms length, with a smile, a sympathetic ear or just a sincere hello. Making another person feel special and cared for is something we do around here . . . in our corner of the Milky Way.
As you sit with each other, greet each other, interact with and work with others throughout the rest of today, and every day, remember that while we are each made from basic elements, combined in interesting but somewhat predictable ways, what makes us special is the way we love each other; the gifts of care and attention we freely give to make another person feel special among all the planets and stars of the cosmos.
When we do that, we can still be special, in the hearts of the ones we love, in the communities we serve, across continents and who knows, across light years. Making someone feel special is your personal gift to the galaxy, and as far as we know, uniquely human.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Another Rotary Invocation
October 5, 2010 - Indianapolis Rotary Club.
I wanted to write on the theme: 'If this life was all there was.' Rather than hoping that when we die you reach your final reward, you realize that you better eat desert now - cause when it's over, it's over!
But I couldn't write that invocation and make it positive. I'll try again later.
So I started banging away on the keyboard Monday night around 9pm while Beth Ann was watching Dancing With The Stars. (Not exactly the most conducive environment to write.) Words didn't flow, sentences appeared and disappeared. It was a real struggle. Writing each line took effort. I felt like I was hewing art from stone. Ultimately, I finished it Tuesday morning after spending another hour. Our lunch starts at Noon.
I wanted to connect the recent discovery of a star system which may include a planet in what is called the Goldilocks zone which may harbor life of some kind to my belief that life on Earth is actually not that special. Interesting, definitely; but not unusual. There is no need for a deity (at least at this stage of the game.)
As you can read below, I believe we are special for entirely different reasons. But these ideas actually emerged on the page as if I was conjuring an 8 Ball. It was like I wrote words, stared at them for a while, assembled them in sentences, deleted a few, moved them around and then stared at them some more. Over a couple hours, a few ideas consolidated on this framework of words that allowed me to connect the parts into a whole.
I got several compliments on it. A few were quite enthusiastic. So I guess this worked. It was athletic in a cerebral way.