One does not have to read a book on the deep meaning of life to be overwhelmed by the almost magical complexity of it all. In order to feel how miraculous it is that you are even here, check out part of my story below; I’m sure you have a similar incident in your family tree as well.
A member of my dad’s large extended family retired from the military early so he could do a family genealogy. And this was back when it wasn’t that fashionable to do because you had to hop in your car and do research in out-of-town libraries, court houses, state houses etc.
Anyway, I read our family genealogist’s ‘book’ back when I was 30 something. As I sat on my parent’s side porch leisurely reading along about who begat whom (and how many kids they produced) and so forth, all of a sudden, I hit a part of the family book that involved a lengthy narrative regarding my family’s migration westward, towards the Ohio Valley.
At one point the narrative got ugly. It seems that a wagon train of settlers was attacked by Indians. The genealogy mentioned the tribe by name, but I didn’t make a conscious note of it, so I don’t remember it. All of the dead settlers were named at the end of the chapter.
I believe there were 7 wagons involved in the massacre but there could have been slightly more. The territory they were traveling through was mapped as being ‘safe.’
But it wasn’t and everybody in the wagon train were killed and scalped, except for one little 12-year-old boy who survived by running from the battle during the chaos and subsequently taking refuge in some bushes.
The more I read the more goosebumps I got. Ya see, this kid grew up and got married and he then had a kid who had a kid who had a kid who had my grandpa who had my dad who had me.
This blew my mind. It would appear that I am just one little resourceful 12-year-old kid away from not being conceived.
Eventually, once the internet became available, I traced my dad’s family back to the middle fifteen hundreds. And once again this made my head spin. Because if one single thing had happened to prevent just one of these past chance encounters (of all my distant relatives) then I would not be here at this moment, sending you, my thoughts.
We are all walking, talking, thinking miracles. The odds of us (you/me, particularly) being here are astronomical; and I don’t use this term loosely. I try every day to be thankful I’m here, alive, and doing well. I no longer take my life for granted. I go through each day reflecting on how fortunate I am to have experienced this life from my own unique POV. I’ve experienced chapters in my life cycle where I was not appreciative of being alive, but those cloudy days eventually gave way to more sunny ones, like today.
Life is such a gift that it’s difficult to put into words how incredibly special it is, even if this is the only life we get. Continuous existence beyond death is not guaranteed to any of us (although through faith many of us believe it is) but this we know for sure – we are here today so let’s celebrate!