This weekend, I read with dismay about the drone strike on a Saudi Arabian oilfield. Uncertain of the geography, I looked at a computerized map of the globe to understand the distances, sizes and juxtapositions of Yemen and Iran and the other nations in that part of the world. Such a different life from mine, I think.
While I was zooming in and out, the image converted to a three-dimensional globe so I turned it -- virtually spinning the globe -- and began enjoying and marveling at the vastness of the entire world, the sheer number of different places, languages, cultures when Hawaii caught my eye. Smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it's so far from everywhere that it looks too tiny to matter at all. I wondered how it came to be a state at all.
But, as far as it is from Connecticut, I've actually been there. Moreover, a family friend lives there now, and he's married and raising a young daughter. So I zoomed in and zoomed in and before you know it, you can see streets and individual houses, and I thought each house there has a family -- maybe someone who works 9 to 5, maybe has kids in school, maybe a retired person or couple -- but each one a houseful of life and chores and to-dos. Normal life, a lot like mine.
Earlier in the week I was creating a quiz and I found a map of Africa with all the nations outlined and only the first letter of each one given as a hint -- the goal was to name them all. I didn't think I could do it and I began wondering how different life was in Africa overall, and then in each country. I wondered, too, is life there the same as mine in any way?
And that brings me to opening my own front door each morning as I am thinking about the day ahead; how will I get my work done today? what will I eat today? who will I be interacting with? are the pets cared for? what wonders lie ahead? will there be any surprises? blessings? catastrophes?
So how big is the world? I guess that depends on what "big" means. Is it so vast and are we so different? Or are we really quite the same when it comes right down to the day in and the day out? At the end of the day, maybe the world is not very big at all.