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Pale Blue Dot

"Tell me what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Mary Oliver

Please take a moment to look at the photo below before you read on.

Now that you are ready to read on, I have a question for you. Did you see the pinprick of light that appears to be in a belt of white haze? Yes? If not, look again. It is hard to see. If you would like to see more photos of this pinprick of light, go here, to visit NASA's website.

You may already know what you are looking at, but if not, that little pinprick of light is planet Earth.

When I first saw that image, I felt awe and fear and completely devastated by how little I am in the grand scheme of things.

Carl Sagan, an astrophysicist, played a key role on many very important space flights. He wanted Voyager I, a spacecraft launched in September 1970, which was exiting our Solar system in 1990, turning its cameras around and taking a picture of us. Voyager, I was 3.6 billion miles away from the Sun. Sagan “...wanted humanity to see Earth’s vulnerability and that our homeworld is just a tiny, fragile speck in the cosmic ocean.”

Here’s what Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, his partner and fellow astrophysicist, said about this photograph.

“Look again at that dot,” they wrote. “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor, and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.”

I’m thinking about the way we treat each other. The fights we have with one another. The petty nonsense that passes between people. The lies we tell. The inane competitions between family and friends. It is devastating to reflect on our seemingly impossible challenges now that I know that all of what seems to be so darned important is relatively nothing. We live on a speck of dust in the Universe. How can my petty ego be that important?

As a result, here is my pledge. I pledge to live my life, from here on out, as though everything matters. I do think I live as though everything matters, but this blue dot picture has, in a sense, sobered me up. We live on a planet that is comparable to a dust mote. Everything and nothing, matters.

Ernest Holmes said during the later years of his life that if he were to do it over he would focus more on love. John Lennon said, “love is all you need.” So, now, sobering up my brain in a way that is formidable and life-changing, I pledge myself to love.

For the rest of my life.

You can hold me to it.


It’s all you need.

Carol Anne


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