Living Broader than a Speck of Dust

December 10, 2010
By Lyvie SILVER, Knoxville, Tennessee
Lyvie SILVER, Knoxville, Tennessee
6 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver.

I had just gotten home from a particularly trying day of school. Nothing was going right. Finals were the next week, stress was high, and nobody was experiencing the jolly spirits of the Christmas season. To make it even worse, some of my most cherished relationships were falling apart, some relationships I had hoped would develop were not forming, and I was in the loneliest spirits of my life. All of this weighed on my mind as I sank to the couch. I did not know how I could continue on like this.

With mascara stains adorning my cheeks, I stared miserably into space. It was that time of day where the sun was slowly finishing its long course to the western edge of the sky. The fading rays of light streamed though the windows of the living room as I sat despondently on the sofa. My eyes were drawn to the specks of dust that carelessly floated through the air. There was no pattern to their movement; they were defenseless to the greater force of the air conditioning whose currents determined their paths. I watched as random dust specks drew my eye. First this one, then that one, all the specks drifted haphazardly within the area of the others. All the particles held a certain appeal to me. I childishly tried catching a few of the iotas of dust, but as my hand moved towards them, the air was stirred and the dust floated put of my reach.

The sun suddenly caught gloriously on one speck. It reflected the light dazzlingly, even to the extent that my eyes hurt from looking at it. I was enraptured at the simple glory of the distracting dust. Nothing seemed more important than watching as the fleck glittered until it was out of my sight. After I saw it no more, I felt a silly disappointment. This brilliant diversion of my suffering was gone. I realized then that all of the dust particles held a beauty of their own. My eyes flitted from one to the next, drawn to some more than others. It held a strange enchantment that made my gaze linger upon the nigh invisible bits that floated around.

I was so absorbed by my dust-watching that I did not even notice my surroundings. Abruptly, I came back to reality. My eyes nearly crossed as my view expanded from these infinitesimal blobs to my entire living room. It was almost too much to take in. Actuality seemed a much bigger place than my fantasy dust land.

The cogwheels of my mind began thinking then. Life is much like watching those specks of dust. I sit there gazing at these tiny wonders, trying in vain to catch some. As I reach out my hand, they fly away, dragging my hopes along with their escape. There are so many, yet only a few catch my eye. The ones that do are the shiny ones, or the large ones, or maybe the oddly shaped ones. What if the dust was just a representation of the pleasures of life? What if they just showed what we try futilely to capture? An average human’s life is nothing more than a compilation of wasted efforts. Perhaps the dust is like the relationships, or the pop culture, or the popularity, or the “in” thing, or maybe it is the new shirt, or pair of shoes, or car, or boyfriend, or girlfriend, or book that we want. Maybe it is the dream college, the fancy new gadget, the texting, the sports events, whatever it is that draws us in. We try so often to capture these things, to catch them and make them ours. Sometimes we are successful in achieving these goals, but they so often leave as quickly as they came. As we reach out our hands to catch them, they drift away. There are a million different objects, events, people, fill in the blank that may seem to be that razzle-dazzle speck of dust. But the most that we can do is to ineffectively reach out our hands and cause them to drift away. Nothing lasts.

What id we take our eyes off of these microscopic pleasures. Do they hold an actual value in life? What if we expand our view to the true reaches of existence? What would we find? Is not life so much bigger than what we ever focus on? What if we just step back and look at the ways things really are? It is a scary thought.

So here I am staring at the computer screen. My reflection is staring back at me. I see a teenage girl. Her face is familiar: those gray eyes, that gold hair, the cleft chin, and those three freckles- I know them so well. For fifteen years I have critiqued them. They have been the victim of many a personal criticisms. What are my priorities in life? I want so badly to be a loving daughter and sister, a good student, an able athlete, a caring friend, and a faithful follower of Christ. Sometimes I get bogged down by the hardships in life, though. I strive for relationships, I yearn for success, and I long to live the perfect life.

What if the ideal life is not supposed to be perfect? Hardships are the fundamental cause for growth. Why do I not take off my focus off of these petty wishes? Life would be so much bigger if I did not concentrate on those specks of dust. My sight would be opened to a whole new realm. A realm of beauty, marvels untold, and, yes, hardship. But these hardships would help me realize the greatness of this world. The greatness of this life- a life meant to be seen through a broader scope than specks of dust.

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