Dust in the Wind
A New Millennium… Millennium…Mil-len-ni-um…Don’t you just love that word? It is so alliterative and almost musical. It just flows off the tongue. But what is it? I can’t comprehend it. Yes, I know it is a thousand years. Yes, I know it is a hundred decades. Yes, I know it is twelve hundred months-fifty-two hundred weeks-365,250 days!! But how much is that? It seems unfathomable. Is there any way to make the numbers more manageable-a way to better illustrate the magnitude of what lies ahead? I don’t know.
A few days ago I was rolling up pennies to take to the bank. As I counted out fifty, then a hundred, I looked at them and lined them up 10 x 10 and realized that this represented only a tenth of one thousand. I kept counting. When I had a thousand lying before me I realized that if each penny represented a year, then that would be a millennium. But no, that didn’t help. I just can’t seem to wrap my tiny brain around it!
I can only concentrate on my small portion of that Millennium and hope that I can make the most of it. I don’t want to waste a single moment. Life is too precious.
“As sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives…”
I remember watching the soap opera “Days of our Lives” as a child. I was about 8 or 9 years old at the time and I can still hear the voice of Macdonald Carey as he spoke the opening words. It was the first time I had heard this phrase and I really didn’t understand the underlying meaning. As the years went by and I grew up I became more aware of just how very true these words are. The days do pass by as quickly as does the sand in an hourglass. Each day by itself is just as insignificant as a single grain of sand. Sometimes it can be very irritating. Sometimes it can produce a pearl. But put a lot of them together and soon we have a beach! So does this mean that we can do without that single grain? Ten grains? A hundred grains? How many can we forfeit before it becomes significant?
When thinking of a millennium, I am most often amazed at the very enormity of it. And any word I use doesn’t seem quite “vast” enough. Grandiose…Wondrous…Awesome… Magnificent… I find myself more and more aware of my inadequacies. I can never seem to find the right words. But then again, does it matter?
Would a thousand years make a difference to the child suffering from hunger? Would it change things for the elderly man left alone and unloved? Or to the woman facing years of chemotherapy and treatment for cancer? Or to the young person just diagnosed with Aids? Would it change the face of a nation on the brink of war? So I ask again, does it matter?
We ask questions over and over-- searching for answers from philosophers, religious icons, political leaders, educators and many others sources. But the answers are elusive.
The thing I find most interesting is that we keep asking-- trying to figure things out--to see the future. Is it simply curiosity? Or is it an innate need to investigate--to learn? I don’t know this either. It seems I know less and less each day!
So much can happen in a millennium. And only a fraction of the events will be chronicled for posterity. Fifty-plus generations of human beings will be born and die during that time, and each life will contribute to the fabric of time. I ask myself… “What will be my contribution to this tapestry?” “Will I make a difference?”
After pondering these questions for a while, I realize there is no easy answer. If I were still young and healthy I think I would be able to help make this a better society-as corny as that may sound. I look around and see things that need to be done, things that need to be changed, and I believe I have the knowledge and the intestinal fortitude to do it. But now my prime is passed and my body has betrayed me. So I can’t dwell on what might be. I can’t go back and change decisions I made in the past. I can only hope to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. I cannot--no, must not--spend time with regrets. So instead I hope to be able to make a difference in at least one life-even in a small way. I will continue to write. Leaving a written record of what life throws my way. I will continue to stitch…Leaving a part of my imagination and talent for those who follow. This will be my “thread” in the great tapestry. But whether or not it will be background fabric or focal point in the grand scheme of things will remain a mystery.
What will the world be like a thousand years from now? Will there be life on Earth? Will there still be “countries” as we know them now? Democracies? Have we traveled to other worlds? Will it be an ideal “Star Trek” type world or a “Jetson’s” hi-tech type world? Will it be more like the “Terminator” in a post apocalyptic society? Or will it be like none of these. I can’t answer these questions. I will most probably be dust in the wind long before the mysteries of life are revealed. Only time will give us the answers. But then, I’m not sure I really want to know….
P.S. As I was posting this, my wonderful son was reading over my shoulder. He stopped me at one point and said “Mom, you have already made a difference in more than one life. You are that