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The spaceman looked down upon the tiny sphere suspended in the distance. He couldn’t tell if it was Earth or if it was just his eye’s reflection on the inside of his helmet. It didn’t matter much however, as they were both equally as miniscule when compared to the vast universe that he was floating through; floating through like a speck of dust in front of a distant eye. An eye for which he hoped was Earth. When he squinted and the little eye in the distance remained still, he knew that it was.
This knowledge however, brought him no hope. Only despair.
Despair that stretched across a million miles of empty space.
Months ago, the man had left the familiar comforts and familiar sights of Earth for the unfamiliar comforts and unfamiliar sights of space. His plan was simple; he would leave Point A and end up at Point B. Though he wasn’t quite sure what he would find there. He was hoping he’d find something different. (In a molecular sense he would’ve been disappointed, seeing that Point B was just Point A with a slightly different arrangement of the universal elements, and in the scale of the universe, equally as miniscule.) He was hoping he’d find meaning. (Which again, in a molecular sense, he would’ve been disappointed, seeing that there is no meaning that can be found in molecules, only atoms.)
Plans never go as planned however, and like anything we are not certain about we can only predict that they will be unpredictable.
And, of course, after an unpredictable turn of events, the spaceman now found himself floating between Point A and Point B, somewhere between the two distant eyes, probably around the nose he figured, with his spacesuit and the few hours’ worth of oxygen it supplied being the only things keeping him alive. The unpredictable universe, in a display of violence and power, chewed up and spit out his tiny vessel. The thousands of pieces were shot out in a thousand different directions, each to carry on their own separate journey across the universe. The spaceman was amongst them.
He existed as only his conscious thoughts and his energy, and he knew that soon he would only exist as the latter.
That’s all we are, us humans, just energy with a conscious; and when our conscious ceases to exist we simply carry on as energy, further feeding the universe’s hunger.
Even with the miracle that is conscious thought, to the universe we taste no different than a rock.
No more than a rock, no more than a pebble, no more than a grain of sand on an infinite beach, the man looked down at his oxygen levels. The red hand was facing his distant home. It was facing zero. He figured that he had about five minutes left to live.
In the face of his death, the man reacted much like the universe he found himself floating through.
He cried, he laughed, he accepted his fate, he denied his fate; he cried again, he prayed, he realized that he just prayed, he laughed, he remembered a time when he did pray, he cried; he thought of his mother, he thought of his father, he thought of his childhood home and remembered how big he used to think it was, he cried again; he cried for his mother, he cried for his father, he cried for innocence, he cried for the infinite universe and he cried for his nearly infinite insignificance; he saw a rock floating by, he grabbed it, he looked at it closely, this beautiful, damaged little piece of earth that by some infinitely small chance happened to stop by and accompany him in his final moments, and he stopped crying.
He realized that even though to the universe we are no different than a rock, that we are all just simple brushstrokes creating a never ending and ever endless masterpiece, that we are all equal in our insignificance; the fact that we, as humans, have the ability to see the beauty of our brushstrokes, the ability to recognize our insignificance is what makes us different from the rocks and the pebbles and the sands, not in the eyes of the universe, but in our own eyes; and this recognition, this consciousness is what brings meaning to our otherwise meaningless lives.
And with this realization, the spaceman breathed in the last of his oxygen.
And with his dying breath he formed a smile.
And even though this smile was so miniscule, so insignificant compared to the endless universe, this smile meant everything.
It was the beauty of the human spirit.
It was the beauty of our existence.
It was the beauty of the universe.
It was his final brushstroke.