A couple nights ago I was out jogging, and I came upon a part of the street where the trees fall back and no streetlights interfere with a clear view of the sky above. I've walked and run there often, but that night as I came into the clearing, Orion, standing upright, burst into my view so suddenly I had to stop. In a highly scientific survey I conducted by having a conversation with two or three people, I discovered some people say Orion is their favorite constellation mainly because they can always find his belt in the night sky (I was one of these people). And as I stood there, observing not just his belt but the entire warrior in full glory (something's telling me that statement could be taken the wrong way, but I'm telling it to be quiet ), the thought that crossed my mind was the same thought that often does when I look up at the lesser lights ruling the night: for millennia, humanity has been looking up at the same stars. A few thousand years ago, someone else may have been standing in that very same spot looking up at Orion.
What excited me most about that thought was realizing I get to be part of something so much bigger than me. Each person who ever lived has contributed to the overarching story of the human race. We're told the beginning and the end, but we have no idea what happens in between until it has come to pass. And no one's part in that story exists in isolation. We are all connected, all affecting each other, having been affected by the generations past and influencing beyond calculation the generations to come as we walk the path God has laid out for us. Each of us is simultaneously always alone and never alone - discounting one or the other places us in unreality and leads to decisions that could cause pain to the myriads of lives connected to our own by invisible ties.
Each generation does the same things, and yet they never get old. There is nothing new under the sun, but it is new to each person who experiences it. Every joy and sorrow and pleasure and pain common unto man never loses its power, although trillions upon trillions have tasted it before you have. Every life is the same, yet each life is unique. That is the ongoing paradox of humanity - to experience as fresh the countless cliches of our existence, so that they are promoted from mere cliches to universal truths.
I am enjoying a strange and wonderful time of my life. All possibilities are before me. Although others have traveled similar roads, the journey is mine alone. However, I would be foolish not to learn all I can from those who have lived the cliches I will soon be living in an entirely unique combination. I have ambitions and daydreams (screenwriting? book writing? counseling? moving to California? marriage? foster care? a house with a Jacuzzi?) but only time will tell whether they materialize. Either way, I'm not alone. Besides the divine hand that guides me, the legacy of generations of stargazers accompanies me as I navigate each cliche with fresh eyes. It's going to be quite a trip.