Has anyone ever told you “You need only look?” All around us life itself is screaming out that it is. Life is alive, there is more than the mundane and it is there for us to see it. I am constantly amazed by the work of astronomers and particle physicists. On one hand they are reaching out and seeing life billions of light years away and on the other they strip away the layers that build life like that of an onion, getting ever smaller and finding more wonder.
Astronomers say that the universe is 13 billion lights years across. I would like to go to the very edge and stick my hand through and beyond the boundary to find out what is beyond. Particle physicists say they have found the “God particle” that is the basis for everything. I wonder what they will find when they build a bigger super collider and split that particle, something even smaller I should wonder.
But what about you and me, what can we see if we look around us? One of my favorite books is “The Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupery (add an apostrophe above the e). It is a whimsical tale for children of all ages (even age 64). He was a French pilot both before WWII and during it, where he died. Another book he wrote is titled “Wind, Sand and Stars” in which he talks about his time as a pilot over the deserts of Africa, the Andes Mountains and the Pyrenees in Europe. This was all during the time flying was in its infancy and was very lonely and dangerous.
The last two and a half pages tell of his traveling by rail on a long journey. At one o’clock in the morning he had the urge to tour the rail cars throughout its length. When he came upon the third class coaches he found them full of Polish workmen being sent home from France back to Poland. The book was first copyrighted in 1939 so this was on the eve of WWII and was a time of great turmoil throughout the land. De Saint-Exupery noted that they all looked like they had lost half of their humanity. He sat down and observed a couple asleep and noticed a child wedged between them. The thought that struck him upon looking closely at this child was that they had the face of a musician, that this child was a Mozart, a life full of beautiful promise. Yet, De Saint-Exupery concluded, this little Mozart will be shaped like the rest by the common stamping machine. He would grow up to love shoddy music and that this Mozart would be condemned.
We need only look and we too shall see this life around us, the lives stamped out by what is accepted as okay, never reaching the highest levels each of us can achieve. At the same time we can go out and see a sunset, the stars at night or any one of hundreds of different things that show forth the wonder of life and all that are good. We need the vision of each end of the spectrum to keep us in balance and that keep us striving to improve our world and all that call it home.
Less than a half page later De Saint-Exupery ends his book with a statement that really struck home with me in several ways. His statement, “Only the Spirit, if it breathes life upon the clay, can create Man.” I love that statement. Yes, we are clay, from the dust we can and from the dust we shall return. It is only when the Spirit breathes upon us that life is truly created. We need only look and we need only bring the life of the Spirit with us to find life.