I am no longer surprised when somebody in my life says something so piercing, meaningful, or perceptive that it gives me pause. We are brilliant, intelligent, and wise beyond measure- all of us.
I spent this past weekend with some of the many wonderful people in my life- discussing the latest monthly read in book club, tracking down the super moon, and celebrating 28 years of life. And it made me think of this origin story I once heard from a friend. His genius usually lies in making things rather than saying things. But I was enthralled when over a glass of wine in my kitchen one night, he articulated this beautiful idea:
At the beginning of the universe, when we were all just clumps of matter and particles of gas, we were densely compressed and compacted side by side. And then all that gas and matter exploded, and the universe expanded farther than we can ever imagine. All of the stuff that got blown apart went on to become planets and stars, and eventually, there was life. Eventually there were people. Eventually we were those people.
Sometimes people come into our lives who are different. We connect, we click, we fit. It usually doesn’t have much to do with a love of shuffleboard, craft beer, or scrapbooking, although we often think it does. It’s something more that we don’t know what to do with, so we try to label it or attribute it to shared interests or background. It’s not.
It’s starstuff. It’s all those particles of gas and matter, looking to realign themselves side by side. The people you connect with- they were your starstuff, the little atoms and electrons floating right next to you all that time ago. And we all want to be close again. If you’re lucky, you get more than a passing moment of connection- you get to make those people your friends. If you’re lucky, you find one another, and start to rebuild the- network? web? cloud? that wrapped you up and held you tight. We are still a lot like those first particles, searching and wandering, colliding with one another aimlessly until one day, something sticks, and we are pulled into orbit.
It makes me think of the movie A Wonderful Life. When Clarence and Joseph talk to one another, they are two stars, winking side by side.
If starstuff has passed the test of billions of years, it’s enduring. I like to think that when we try and fail in our everyday lives, when we hurt people we love or drift away from one another, we haven’t done any real damage. The bonds are still unbroken, maybe unbreakable altogether. We are all eternally searching. Someone out there is looking for you.