I have a vivid memory; one that will never leave me. It has no people, no man made objects, and no sense of space. All it has is me looking up.
It was a summer when I was a young boy. My family took a vacation like we always did: camping. We couldn’t afford much, but the way we were raised taking fancy expensive vacations would get in the way of our own fun anyway. We camped all over Michigan in various state parks and other less-known finds. It’s one of my favorite things about my childhood and growing up with the Fearsome Fivesome. No matter how far apart we live and the phases of life we move through, those four people have seen me in times no one else will. I guess that just sets the tone for the attitude on these trips.
We were camping one summer somewhere in northern Michigan. We had a little spot next to the lake set up with a fire I was one of the last to hit the hay (normally my parents were the last ones awake). I was sitting back in a folding chair looking up at a clear sky. One of a black, blue color and bright, glowing dots peppered far enough throughout to keep your eyes wandering, never focusing on one spectacle.
Then it happened. I saw one spot between stars. It was black; empty. There was nothing between stars in this space. I looked through it and saw nothing. So much nothing. It was an incredible feeling. It was almost like looking through a telescope with the end covered seeing nothing but black, but still trying to look through for something on the other side.
What I saw was a thought. The spot of nothingness, the sky I was looking at . . . someone else was looking at the same spot. I don’t mean that in the way that some do when they say, “See, we’re all so small. We all live under something bigger. We’re no different from each other.”
What I mean is if you look up at that space between stars and see nothing there is nothing there for everyone else too. When you look up there is no world, no Rolex watch on your wrist, no Detroit Lions (I’m a fan, we’ll leave it at that), no career life, no children, no ground under your feet, and certainly no distraction. All that exist is the stars and the space between them.
Take that however you want, but I see it as this: it worked. Whether you believe in him or not, God meant for this to happen a certain way. You look up and you see the same thing everyone else does. Of course this is slightly metaphorical. Just as I see something different at my side as someone on the opposite side of the globe we see different sides of the universe when we look up, but the universe above us is much more “one” than the people, cars, and dirt at our feet. It’s all the same space. You almost can’t divide the space like you can man made pieces. If you ask someone to fill a bag with “Texas” they can certainly do that. They grab some state soil, a pigskin, and maybe some state-brewed beer and there you have it. All things directly from or made in the space. BUT, ask someone to fill a bag with universe. They can’t do it. It’s almost not real; not tangible.
No matter where we come from, what our status is, what possessions we have, what our state of health is, when we look up we are all under the same night sky. Similar to what I do. Part of the wonder of CrossFit, or any sport for that matter, in the heat of competition status is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have. It matters what you’re capable of in the moment. When you’re knee deep in thrusters and pull-ups you’re options are limited. You either fight tooth and nail or look for a way out. The magic is when people do that together and realize there are more things in life than separating oneself from the herd. While that is important for success and growth of many kinds there comes a time when you’re supposed to be with your herd.
The point is this. At the end of the day we all live under the same night sky with the same night stars . . . No matter how clear or cloudy it might be. You and the things you judge yourself by . . . they’re not real. Once we grasp what’s real we’ll get it.