A creative nonfiction essay written by Bill Willlson
I see the four walls lined with books in my den, the screen to my computer, and occasionally this keyboard. I see my little dog looking up at me with pleading eyes, she wants to go out for a walk, but it’s raining outside. If I get up and walk over to the window, and draw aside the curtains, I see the street, my front lawn, and the rose garden. On my wall behind me there is a map of the world. When I look at the map, and think about the six continents, and how big they appeared as I flew across them or as I sailed across the oceans, my little world diminishes to a rather insignificant space. Of course this comparative relationship can be seen over and over in reality.
What is a particle of dust compared to man? What is one man compared to all humanity? What is humanity compared to the earth? What is the earth compared to the solar system? What is the solar system compared to the galaxy? What is the galaxy compared to the universe? What is the universe compared to the infinite space of the cosmos?
Going in the other direction, what is a speck of dust compared to a molecule? What is a molecule compared to an atom? What is an atom compared to a nucleus? What is a nucleolus compared to a neutron or proton? What is a neutron or proton compared to a monad? What is a monad compared to a particle of ether? And yet, after all of this comparing, we imagine the ether that fills up every nook and cranny, of the cosmos. It is everywhere present, and there is no where it is not. I see the connectivity of everything which God has created, and I see that it all has a purpose, and it is all good. God has created many kingdoms, indeed scientists are constantly discovering systems or kingdoms within systems. God tells us in scripture that all kingdoms have a law given;
And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.
And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. (Doctrine and Covenants 88:36-38)
All of God’s kingdoms together make up a great, grand , and glorious whole, which God rules over, and it is all for our good and our progression.
I don’t think I ever considered how insignificant I was until the first time I flew across this great country of ours. Up until then, being fresh out of high school, it was all academic, WOW! What an experience. As I looked out the window of the plane, I saw little tiny cars that looked smaller than ants crawling across the desert, and the landscape stretched on endlessly. There were no border lines, so I couldn’t tell when we passed from one state to the other. There were other times when I began to solidify my feelings of just how puny I was compared to the power of the elements. When I was aboard my ship in the Navy and we were out to sea for days and months at a time, never seeing any sign of land, and the stormy waves rose up and tossed our huge ship around as if it were a cork. From the soles of my feet clinging desperately to the deck of the ship, I could feel the power of the sea and it struck the depths of my soul with an awareness of the power of the sea, and all of the elements of the earth which God had created.
Then my interest in space and the universe came into focus, and I learned and saw in photos from the Hubble the galaxies and earth from outer space and I began to realize that our earth, on the face of which I was but a tiny speck was in reality another tiny speck in the cosmos and our galaxy was one of the smallest in our universe. Yet from my point of view, with both my feet planted firmly on this earth I am relatively large compared to the accessories to my being, that I see scattered around me in everyday reality.
This is especially true when I examined inner space in some of my micro biology classes as I sought out my general education requirements. I was amazed to discover that the simple cells that we examined, which when I took my high school biology, almost fifty years before, were diagramed as a wavy ellipsoid with a couple of dots inside, had now evolved into a complex structure with organelles each of which had a life sustaining function vital to the very life of the cell. I also learned that the old periodic chart of elements had picked up almost thirty new elements.
All of this information added tremendously to my realization that what I see in life is always relative to the lens through which it is viewed. Books photos and maps can help to broaden my perspective, but actual experience can burn it indelibly into my soul. Through the experience of living I can see and feel the reality of the role of God in my existence. I know that He sees me and that He loves me just as much as He loves all of the beautiful things that He created.