The view from 100,000 miles
Take a look at this image. How do you feel?
It staggers my mind that astronauts have traveled to the moon, walked upon its surface and returned to earth. Like, how is that even possible? As an achievement, it’s still so difficult to wrap my mind around.
German Astronaut Alexander Gerst said this last year while aboard the International Space Station:
“As astronauts we have a unique view of our planet looking down from 400 km above. Some things that on Earth we see in the news every day and thus almost tend to accept as a “given”, appear very different from our perspective. We do not see any borders from space. We just see a unique planet with a thin, fragile atmosphere, suspended in a vast and hostile darkness. From up here it is crystal clear that on Earth we are one humanity, we eventually all share the same fate.” — Alexander Gerst
You and I share this planet which is floating in a circle around the sun in the middle of absolutely nowhere, together with over seven billion other people.
Today on this planet, someone took their first breath. Hundreds of thousands of babies entered the world.
Today on this planet, someone took their last breath. Hundreds of thousands of people passed away; their time here expired.
New relationships bloomed; old relationships ceased. Fortunes were made and fortunes were lost. Lovers made love. Conflicts wore on. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners were eaten. Children were read their bedtime stories.
When I view our planet from 100,000 miles away, most of all, it puts my everyday struggles into perspective.
Talk of perspective is almost cliche, yet it remains a powerful way to rethink our problems. We get so locked into resisting the present moment that we forget what really matters. We devote endless energy to trivial, even meaningless, concerns.
That thing that my wife and I argued about last night: will it matter next week or next month?
My child’s refusal to potty train: will it matter when she’s 10?
I am tired and irritable today, but what will tomorrow bring?
We are here for a short time, but we mostly act as if we’ll live forever.
Enjoy this moment; it’s the only one we ever really possess.