How Small

Several years ago a lunatic named Felix Baumgartner rode a balloon into outer space and then jumped out of it and fell back to earth. By choice. Because why the hell not, I guess. Oh, and since we live in the future, the whole thing was broadcast live on the internet so that people from around the globe could tune in for the thrill of seeing whether or not a daring Austrian stuntman would become a crater.

For a person whose actions indicate that he is clearly crazy, Felix dropped a surprisingly sage piece of wisdom into his mic shortly before he willingly fell from outer space to the surface of the earth like an errant piece of space litter tossed from a cosmic convertible.

“I know the whole world is watching now,” he said. “I wish you could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to be up really high to understand how small you are. I’m coming home now.”

That’s beautiful. And haunting. And it’s stayed with me for years.

I will never do what Felix Baumgartner did that day. I will never see with my own eyes what he saw with his. But I will do my best to look through his sometimes, to see how small we really are, how small I really am.

There’s value in that sight. And you don’t need to fall from outer space to find it.

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