I watched one of my favorite movies, The Signs, last night, and it got me thinking about just that—signs. I love the part where Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix are sitting on the couch in the middle of the night in front of the TV that shows images of extraterrestrial lights in the sky, and Gibson gives his highly philosophical theory on the two kinds of people. Either you belong to group one, to those who see a sign and interpret it as a miracle, as evidence that there is someone out there watching out for them, and that fills them with hope. Or you belong to group two, to those who see a sign and interpret it as luck, a chance that is fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down they know that whatever decision they choose to make, they are on their own. So this theory really begs the question: Are they signs or are they just coincidences? Do we make too much of not enough and connect the dots in a way that suits us, creating elaborate theories from circumstantial evidence?
Sometimes I think we do, especially people like authors and artists, whose job is to enter the realm of imagination and create realities from nothingness. And it is in these times when something freaky happens, as if trying to convince me otherwise. Like this morning when I read my wonderful author-friend, Nana Prah’s blog...and guess what! She wrote about coincidences. Freaky, right? Now, is that a coincidence or a sign? And if it’s a sign, what is it signaling?
So I thought a little deeper and wondered to which group of people I would belong. And I’ve figured that I need a third group. I belong to the group of people who don’t think that there is someone watching out for them. I belong to the group of people who know that they are no more than a grain of sand in a giant hourglass called the Universe. Does that mean, therefore, that they are unimportant? To the contrary! Every grain counts. Without it, the hourglass would be useless. Without it, its purpose would be meaningless. Just how can you accurately measure time if you disregard even one grain of sand? And so every grain has its particular role, its path, its destination. And should it stray from its purpose…well, there’s really nowhere to go being in an hourglass and all, but its chances aren’t fifty-fifty, good or bad. They just are the way they are meant to be because the hourglass is shaped in such a way that if you look at it from above or below, you’ll find that the destination of the grain of sand is always the same, no matter how it gets there. So it doesn’t matter whether you believe what you see or whether you see what you believe. What matters is that you are here and that you are a part of something spectacular--something that would be useless and imperfect without you.