It’s easy to focus on my problems.
I think we all know what this feels like. It’s when the smallest speck becomes the most ginormous mountain that has manifested itself in your brain so much that it takes up all your thinking space. It’s like claustrophobia for your thoughts and then you just feel like you keep spinning…and spinning out…
It’s easy to get frustrated with my problems because sometimes I know that I can’t do anything about them.
I think we know what it’s like to want control. It’s when the quietest whisper gets louder and louder until it’s shouting with a megaphone inside your brain, and you don’t remember blowing the assembly whistle. Now you have this unannounced flash mob that likes to show up and perform its routine every so often, and the worst part about it is—we don’t even know when or where it will show up.
There are so many things beyond our control.
I could try to list them all, but you are probably ahead of me listing them already.
On the spring break study away Oxford course when I was exploring different parts of England, I had an interesting realization.
In London, I passed by a bustling St. Patrick’s Day festival. The music alone made me want to burst into a jig. There was an ice cream sculpture larger than life. People gathered in their green beads and adornments. The atmosphere rang with cheer.
Later, I walked down a street in Oxford where I passed by a protest of the war in Ukraine. It’s amazing how there can be song and dance on one street and cries for freedom on another.
Sometimes we forget where we fit into the planet.
If you’ve ever flown on an airplane or climbed a tall building, then you’ve already experienced a change in perspective. People look a lot like ants from above, and depending on how high up you’ve gotten, we might have been termites. You might have had fun with it and squished the tiny, innocent travelers between your fingers.
Until we open up frequent flier miles to space (which I think we’re working on), for now we have to rely on images, stories and our own imagination.
I imagine space to be vast and spangled with stars. There, suspended in the void, is Earth. The land and sea make up splotches of green and blue. It all seems so much smaller and tighter. I can see how it fits together like a puzzle. It appears as if I could hopscotch across it, but that puzzle took months and years for explorers to sail across—and it takes us a few whining hours as we try to sleep and watch airline movies.
I imagine you can’t see any people from space. It would take God’s eyes to do that.
Here we are with our minds jumbled full of thoughts amongst the tall trees, vast waters and mountains that seem too tall to climb.
But in all this worrying, there is something we have forgotten.
Somehow in the mystery, the world keeps on spinning, and we are not wandering here alone.
My uncle Robert always reminds me, “Everyone has a story.”
I have a story. You have a story. We are all on this earth trying to find our story.
I’ve always thought of my story as a quilt. I don’t see the whole picture in the present moment or how the future will unfold, but when I look back at past seasons of my life, I see how it was all stitched together. I realize that there was really no need for worry in the first place.
Sometimes I get so caught up in complaining that I forget how my problem is just one tac on the globe, and oftentimes it’s an intangible problem, irrational problem or just out of my control.
It’s humbling to think about how small I am in relation to the universe and how everything works to build a bigger story.
Instead of spinning out, I can simply let the world spin for me.
Brooke Erickson is an English secondary education major and religious studies minor. Aside from serving as an opinion editor on the Marlin Chronicle, she is also leader and founder of Women of God, a women’s ministry group under Marlin Ministries.
By Brooke Erickson