Sunday, March 20, 2011

A pale blue dot

Just the other day, I added a framed image to my office wall. And every time I look up at it, I'm awestruck. Really. Every time my eyes glance in its direction, I stop whatever I was doing and I stare in wonder.

The print I bought and framed is an image of what has come to be known as The Pale Blue Dot. I've written about it before. Here's some background information on my picture from that previous blog post...

It's a wonderful image taken by Voyager 1 in 1990 while it was on its way out of our solar system, more than 4 billion miles away from earth, and gives a very real sense of our smallness. As Voyager 1 grew increasingly distant, Ground Control on Earth commanded it to turn around and take some pictures of our solar system. From that vast distance, in one of the pictures, Earth can be seen as an infinitesimal point of light visible in a ray of sunlight (enlarged in the image to the right, or click on the image to the left to enlarge it).

As the famous astronomist Carl Sagan later said, "That's here. That's home. That's us." That little dot is where "everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives... every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam."

So now, as I sit at my desk, sometimes stressing over a phone call I need to make or worrying about something I just said in a call I just completed, or sometimes struggling with a project I need to complete or wondering how on earth I'll meet a deadline, I just look up and I get a dose of perspective. Because whatever I'm stressing over or struggling with, it's probably not as earth-shattering as I may think it to be. And whether I succeed or fail at some tiny task at some tiny point in the history of this tiny dot in the universe is probably not as important as I may be tempted to think.

But in addition to realizing that, I find that the pale blue dot in that image leaves me utterly amazed at how God took notice of each person on this "mote of dust," and despite how infinitesimally small we are, God sent His Son Jesus to this precious jewel in this vast universe to rescue us from our sins and to offer us a new and infinite life with Him! That kind of love leaves me in awe every time I look up from my modest pursuits and stare at a simple dot. And it leaves me lost in wonder as I think that God cares enough to draw near to us here and to wrap us in His loving arms!

© 2011 by Ken Peters

1 comment:

Jacki said...

Awesome! I asked Jesus for more AWE in my life. Then I started teaching the kids in our little homeschool coop about space for a science unit. Same thing...whenever I get stressed I just pull back for a second, remember the size of the planet that I'm spinning on, and the God who has the universe in His hands, and I am filled with gratitude and amazement! Great post!