A Speck on the Earth



I heard a sermon once – and I sadly completely forget the context – in which the pastor was trying to relay how very tiny and insignificant we really are.  The earth is but a tiny part of a vast, vast universe.  Your continent is but a tiny part of the earth.  Your country… your state… your province… your town… your street…. and on and on. We’re truly little more than microscopic specks of dust.

I think of the speck analogy a lot, especially how it compares to the “me-me-me” attitude of society in general. The amount of self-aggrandizing and arrogance that is out there is mind-boggling.  Quite the opposite of the speck theory is this pervasive attitude that the sun rises and sets based on our own whims, and that everything, EVERYTHING, is in fact about us, and our needs and our comfort and our feelings.  My husband (who is right more often than I like to publicly admit) is often saying that 99% of the world’s problems boil down to people and their selfishness, and I can’t say that I disagree.  People are selfish.  People are arrogant.

I get called arrogant often.  In fact it’s probably one of the things I get called most often, second only to judgmental.  It’s not even always in response to what I write now that I think of it. Sometimes it’s a reaction to my just having a blog in general and/or thinking that anyone would want to read it.    Which is fair enough I guess.  I think there’s probably a certain amount of arrogance in anyone who puts out a creative work in hopes that someone will read it/watch it/listen to it.  Ironically, I don’t much write for other people.  I (selfishly :)) write for myself, because it’s the way I’m wired.  It’s an outlet, so I don’t explode.

The thing is though, none of it matters. What I write, what I share, the things that prompt people to call me names…. it doesn’t matter.  It’s just noise.  I’m a speck.  What matters isn’t jentheblogger, but how I conduct myself when I don’t have a running commentary critiquing my every thought.  This past week I’ve been holed up with my family.  I temporarily unpublished my Facebook page, to protect myself – and by extension, my kids – from the backlash that always comes after a post is widely shared.   I spent 72 hours in bed with a feverish 7 year old.  I went to the doctor, twice.  I went to a baseball game and out to eat with some friends.  I took care of the house and the kids and spent a lot of hours dealing with the chaos that comes from taking in a stray dog.


It felt good to retreat to my little bubble, even at its most hectic.  Except….. I don’t think that living in a bubble is really the answer either.  I think there has to be a balance somewhere, because while, yes, we are but specks, I refuse to believe that we aren’t also part of something bigger.  The past few days, in the wake of everything that is happening in Baltimore, I have to believe we’re part of something bigger.  It seems to me that it’s just a matter of deciding what it is we want to be a part of.

I read this morning that nearly 75,000 people have a signed a petition to bring Derek Shephard back to Grey’s Anatomy.  (In case you’re not a Grey’s fan, or you don’t have a Twitter account, the world is apparently in mourning because Shonda Rhimes killed off a beloved character in a rather sudden and devastating way last week)  75,000 people!  If that many people can so quickly band together over their outrage about a FICTIONAL TV CHARACTER’S death, surely only good things can come from people coming together to address a cause that’s real, and good, and noble.

I’m a speck, this much is true.  But I’m a speck who’s going to keep standing on the side of love and kindness, tolerance and respect…. for kids and adults alike, because it’s what’s right.  It’s not the easiest or most convenient or most comfortable side to stand on (isn’t it ironic how much prolific unkindness and hatred is aimed at a call for kindness??) but it’s where I’m led, again and again.  Sometimes kicking and screaming.  Sometimes painfully. Always humbly.   But I’m here, hoping that I’m indeed part of something bigger than myself.


I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

P.S. If you want to join the conversation (or if you want to call me arrogant) you can once again like my page on Facebook.

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2 Responses to A Speck on the Earth

  1. I have so many similar thoughts and feelings and reasons for writing. I definitely think that there is a certain arrogance in my sharing what I write – I want to freaking make the world a better place!

    But the longer I write, the more it really IS for ME. It’s really sinking in for me, slowly but surely that really I can only change me, no one else. I may influence others or inspire them – but they are in charge of changing them.

    I like the analogy that I am one pine needle on a single tree in a huge forest. Each of us are so small when we zoom way out. But I like the story of the starfish to remind me that what we do DOES matter – even if it is only to one starfish.

    And finally – one of my most popular posts was titled “Nothing Really Matters” – and what I meant by that is what we BELIEVE isn’t as important as we like to think. What really matters is how we treat others. Kindness. And yes I continually am amazed how controversial Kindness is. Pointing out that certain parenting practices (among other things) are NOT kind, is not a popular position. But more and more people are listening. I really believe that! We are not writing to change the minds of those who will not listen. We are writing to reassure and give permission to those who already feel in their soul that there are better, kinder ways. When they hear us say – “YES! You CAN parent without punishment. YES! You can listen to your child and trust them. YES! You can have a close loving relationship with your child… and not only that, but doing those things is the best possible thing you CAN do….” well, when they hear that, it is exactly what they need to find there *own* Path Less Taken.

  2. Great post. Your words always seem to resonate with me, Jen. Of course, I’ve only been reading them for a short time, but hey, it’s a start, right?