This I Believe
February 28, 2007
I believe Physics is religion. I don’t go to church because I believe church is all
around us every second of the day. I believe religion is in the sunrise, and in a cool
breath of fresh air. I can find it in a smile from a stranger that I pass in the street. My
dog has religion in her tail when she wags it. My family and friends have religion in their
love and hugs for me. I found religion in some Mexican food I shared with my husband
last night. Laughter for me, is the most ornate cathedral.
All of the above mentioned, and everything else for that matter, has to do with
Physics. We take for granted that every breath we take contains a million, billion, billion
atoms. Everywhere we look, even when there is something that appears to be nothing,
there is something that has to do with Physics.
Our body that originated in the womb of our mother from just two cells, now consists
of tens of trillions of cells. There are two or three billion cells in just one baby toe. Each
cell contains one hundred times more atoms than there are in the Milky Way Galaxy.
There are over two hundred types of cells in our body, and they each know the job that
needs to be done. We don’t even have to think about it. All this wisdom in a body that is
composed of mainly six elements; oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and
phosphorus. Some of these elements were present just moments after the Big Bang.
All of us humans are made up of the same stuff. The stuff that stars are made of. It
does not matter how much money we make, or how many books we have read, or how
many jumping jacks we can do. Our blood and guts are all the same.
I believe we can learn something from each soul we meet. We are all so alike in so
many ways, and yet I have met some people with whom I could not have less in common.
Sometimes I must fight the urge to tell them how I really feel. Sometimes I lose that
fight with myself and say something stupid. Now that I am getting older, I try to learn
valuable lessons from these mistakes, and keep my opinions to myself.
I find myself worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future, or how I
will possibly get everything accomplished. I spend way too much of my life thinking
about things I should or should not have said or done, and not enough time in the present.
I should be thankful that my arms and my heart and my brain still work well enough to
attempt to get everything done that I need to do to make it through another day.
And then, I remember my religion, Physics. I learned in class that there are as many
or more stars in the sky as there are grains of sand on every beach of our planet. A white
dwarf star is so dense that a cubic inch of one can weigh as much as eleven thousand tons
or more. The only difference between a monkey and a chicken are a couple of protons,
and a meteorite could come slamming into my living room at any moment and blow
away any recollection I have up until this point, so it really just doesn’t matter.
What does matter to me of course, is my health, my family, our home, our friends, and
the good fortune we all share. If I have a problem, I must remind myself that this
problem is so incredibly, infinitely small compared to the size of Betelgeuse, (700 times
as big as the Sun), or the time it takes light to get to Sirius, our closest star. (Eight years).
I must also remember that some other people don’t consider Physics to be nearly as
exciting as I do. Some people have heartbreaking, gut wrenching, crippling problems
that can ruin their lives. I believe that since our lives are merely a spark compared to the
age of our Universe, (13.7 billion years) that the only thing that really matters for our
time here is how much we can help others. The smallest favor can make someone’s
whole day. A little complement can change a person’s whole outlook on life. The
slightest signal of hope can change everything. Since we are all make of star stuff, we
have to help each other shine.
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