Every once in awhile, we discover something profound something that completely changes us. In the world we live in today, it is easy for us to forget about these amazing discoveries, these strands of knowledge and curiosity that we so desperately need to hold on to. For me, it was not until my sophomore year of high school that I learned the most fascinating, astounding matter.
I’ve never really been a science person. It just wasn’t something that clicked easily for me. However all of that changed when my biology teacher paused from writing on the board, and turned around to face the class.
“Did you know we are made up of the same elements as the stars? The atoms in our bodies are literally traceable to the cosmic explosions from billions of years ago,” he said. “Now if there is one thing I want you to take away from this class, it’s that we are all a part of an inter-connecting system responsible for creating life. That’s what biology is.”
I had never heard of something so eccentric, something that filled the void of uncertainty and of questioning why or how we got here.
You see when a star dies, its core collapses resulting in a supernova, a colossal explosion, releasing layers of nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, iron, and sulfur –a all of the elements that we are made of—a into small clouds that fill the universe. Since there are trillions of these atoms being released with such force, they escape the gravitational pull and scatter the ingredients of life throughout the galaxy.
So while many search far away for the answer as to why we’re here, it was always right above us, sitting in the night sky.
That night, I looked out my window. Up in the sky were thousands of tiny specks of light. Look, I thought, That’s me! I was so infatuated with the idea that all of me, all of us, came from those bright, lustrous flecks.
Oftentime when people look up into the night sky, they feel small, almost inconsequential to the vastness of the rest of the world. However when I saw the night sky, I didn’t feel so small. There was a level of connectivity between me, just a tiny speck, and the immense, cosmic arena above. And it’s a feeling like that, that we all search for in life. We want to be a part of something…to mean something.
When I look into the night sky, I know that I am a part of the universe, but perhaps even more importantly, I know that the universe is a part of me. It’s a peculiar thing to think about, having been a star at one point. But it’s realizations like this, ones that we should be grateful for, that remind us of who we are, and who we ought to be.
The stars, they were some of the first entities in this universe. They had all of the power to construct the rest of life however they wanted, and somewhere along the way they chose us: a species so complex, it is no wonder we were born out of something as enticing as the cosmos. I learned that we are all much closer to one another than I had initially thought. Even the sun, the moon, and the Milky Way, share the same genetics as us. These galactic bodies have always had the purpose of shining bright and for all of us to marvel at.
So, while the stars may seem far away and out of reach, we must remember that they are right there, inside of us -all of us- with reminders to do exactly what it is that they’ve been doing for so long: shine on.