“Hiding in my room, safe within my womb,
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.”
— lyrics from “I Am A Rock,” by Paul Simon, 1965
I used to be the only sentient being on the planet. (Keep in mind I’ve always read a lot of science fiction.) When I was young, my firm belief was that God had me under a microscope to study how I interacted with all the robots under His control.
All these other beings, including those in my own family, seemed to know exactly what they were doing, exactly what comes next. Me, I was clueless.
God would precisely direct all the actions on the stage around me (the microscope slide, in my mind), leaving me to figure out how to react.
Being insulated, isolated, I eventually became fairly comfortable in my own skin, knowing that nothing else was real. If others’ actions were rehearsed and their emotions feigned, how my life affected them was meaningless, as well.
Over time I heard other people offer this same theory, but I figured that their words were just lines being written for them by God, who was reading my mind.
So I determined to be unpredictable, rebellious, just to keep Him — and myself — entertained. This on-the-inside-looking-out world view was my reality for the first 20 years of my life.
But there came a moment when God did something entirely unexpected and shattered my world with a single touch.
When He made Himself real to me, suddenly everyone else was real, too.
Where I had been the star of the show, surrounded by all these “extras,” now I understood each of these others had the leading role in their own lives.
Picture a scene of an epic movie, like “The Ten Commandments” or “Hunger Games.” The main characters are backed by hundreds or thousands of people who form the background for the story.
But actually, in their own eyes — and in God’s eyes — each of these “extras” is the main character. Not just those who speak up. Not just those who get involved. Not just the attractive ones. Not just Christians. Not just Americans.
When we become aware of who surrounds us and realize each person has reality and value, it becomes possible for us to let go of our own lives and our own time to touch them. And to be touched by them.
When we take that risk and climb off the microscope slide, we can affect the history of the planet.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.” — C.S. Lewis
— Steve Brown