At about ten thirty last night I decided to do a bit of reading thinking it’s a good way to unwind at the end of a day, and once I get too tired to keep my eyes open, I’ll just drift off nicely to sleep. Next stop, it’s 5am, the book is finished, and I haven’t felt tired yet. It’s been quite sometime since I stayed up all night just for the fun of it. And it’s also been quite some time since I greeted the morning sun with a cup of coffee, a blueberry donut, and a best friend or two to share it with. Since most of my best friends have jobs and sleep at night, my dogs were the next best thing.
Having this rather unique opportunity to see the sun wake up, I started thinking about the past times I did this. Getting up early to see it come up over the Atlantic in Massachussetts or over the badlands in South Dakota. Watching it creep over the horizon on a flight to Philly. Each time I remember it being beautiful and meaningful, and as I brewed my coffee this morning and researched sunrise times online, I hoped it would be meaningful for me today as well. And since I mistakenly looked up sunrise times for a completely different area of the world, I had about a half hour’s worth of time to kill thinking about just how meaningful it was.
It’s funny because it’s not just the sun that’s waking up. The lighter it got outside, the louder the birds sang and the more traffic I could hear on the highway. The field near my apartment where I waited was all overgrown, and the dogs spent almost the entire time prancing in the grass, taller than they are, and getting thoroughly soaked with dew. It was meaningful to watch and be a part of, this epic beginning to a new cycle.
In some ways, I felt like this thing that I’m doing here is the beginning of a new cycle. And, it seems, the more I get into the cycle, the more it seems vaguely familiar. I think I’m beginning to see that this journey was not necessarily to clue me in to some unknown path that I hadn’t yet seen, but rather to realign me with a path that’s been peering its little head up my entire life. Science. I love it. I can’t get enough of it. If God is the author of science (and I wholeheartedly believe he is), then everything I learn about the world and how it works is an insight into him and how he works. He’s thought of everything. There is a Modest Mouse song that asks God the question, “Are you dead, or are you sleeping?” The truth is, he’s neither. The world and its inhabitants have been designed in such a way that they largely take care of themselves. The Earth recycles it’s own wastes naturally, but merely can’t keep up with the excess of it that we’ve added. The body generally works of its own accord and heals most aches and pains without the need for outside influence. The birds and lilies do not worry about what they will eat or drink. Relationally speaking, God is very much involved, but anything physical that happens outside of the scientific guidelines which were set at the birth of the universe is miraculous because that aspect of our lives is largely self-sustaining. (Ah, how I miss thinking and writing more than just meaningless drivel).
I say all that to say this. When I was in the 6th grade, my parents took us to Sea World, back when there was still one in Ohio, and I fell in love. My Mom asked the parrot handler what kind of training they needed to work there, and she said they all had degrees in zoology. And that was it. I was 12 years old looking up colleges that had zoology majors. And somewhere between 6th and 12th grade, my interest waned and was replaced by other things. In fact, even in college I was not convinced of the major I picked and took all kinds of classes in literature and social sciences to find something I liked better, but never did . . . until I was a senior and took Biology and Chemistry in the same semester (which I do not advised, fyi). But by that time it was too late. I was three classes and an internship away from my degree. An internship, by the way, which has never been completely five years after I walked for graduation, and that I have no desire to do now.
And so here I am, still in the interim, feeling like I missed my chance. And although I have had some jobs that I loved, none have really quite felt right in the raison d’etre sense. All this time I’ve spent feeling like I should have been better in school, I should have chosen something smarter and more challenging, I’m not as good as I could be, and the answer has been trying to get my undivided attention for 15 years. Science. I love it. I can’t get enough of it. And now the question becomes, what now? That this gigantic answer is slapping me in the face. The scary part about telling all of you is the old “what if I fail?” voice that sneaks in to scare you away from whatever it is you’re on the fence about. I am not on the fence. And by telling all of you, I am intrinsically building in an accountability that has not been there before. What up, Science? Let’s finally do this.