“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” -Albert Einstein
The Hubble telescope has captured images of the universe that provide scientists a whole new universe to contemplate. It was able to capture a universe that existed ten billion years ago as well as nurseries of new stars forming entire new galaxies. The vastness of time and space that exists is beyond our imagination and even the language of light years that we use to describe it is beyond comprehension. One thing that I did understand as I watched the fragile team efforts of the NASA space teams who have been maintaining and improving the capacity of the telescope is the profound appreciation that these astronauts have for our perfect oasis of a planet right here and now.
While it is likely in the great expanse of galaxies surrounding us that one day, a planet as beautiful and habitable as our will be found, the chances that we will ever get to live on it are light years away. This planet and this time is all there is for us humans in the great expanse of wonder and mystery in which we spin. Watching the universe unfold around me in the Omnimax dome surrounded by my family was humbling. We are so small in the scheme of the universe and yet at the same time, this beautiful moment in time is all the more precious because it exists in the midst of such vast potential.
Einstein once said: “There are two ways to live your life – one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” Today as I sat surrounded by my growing teenage kids and my husband who has been teaching us all about the wonders of the universe in our backyard for years, I was convinced that everything is a miracle. I remember one day when my son came to find me after school one day. He had been studying physics and had shared an inspiring conversation with his teacher about how our universe and the perfect beauty of nature sustaining itself was a one in a billion possibility. As we walked in the rain, he exclaimed how even the fact that water, the element that defines our existence can just fall from the sky.
Grasping even the edge of the mystery of the amazing human life we have on earth has to make you grateful. It has to make you awake to the fact that this day, this moment has so much promise just because it is here and we are here. I thought of one of my favorite quotes by Thoreau as I walked out flanked by the people I love most….”You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment… There is no other life but this.”