Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Are we special?
Science is nearly ready to answer that question in a way that wasn’t possible a decade ago.
120 trillion miles from here scientists say they have found what appears to be an Earth-like planet that may be just warm enough and wet enough to make the chemistry of life possible.
Our special place in the universe is about to be challenged. We may not be alone.
So much of life’s meaning is connected to a feeling that we are special. From religion to education to management, the means may be different, but the ends are the same: to affirm each person’s uniqueness, each person’s right to be different; to make each person feel special about themselves, their abilities, their relationships, their potential.
So today, we learn we may not have such a special place among the stars. So what?
Being special was never about being alone. To be truly special requires the attention of another human being. A gift given by one person to another; at arms length, with a smile, a sympathetic ear or just a sincere hello. Making another person feel special and cared for is something we do around here . . . in our corner of the Milky Way.
As you sit with each other, greet each other, interact with and work with others throughout the rest of today, and every day, remember that while we are each made from basic elements, combined in interesting but somewhat predictable ways, what makes us special is the way we love each other; the gifts of care and attention we freely give to make another person feel special among all the planets and stars of the cosmos.
When we do that, we can still be special, in the hearts of the ones we love, in the communities we serve, across continents and who knows, across light years. Making someone feel special is your personal gift to the galaxy, and as far as we know, uniquely human.