So Much More

“The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings; thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.” –Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, Carl Sagan

The flame licked our skin as we spoke. The smoke felt good in my lungs. Its heat warmed my heart as the autumn air brushed my skin. I exhaled. Chills scattered down my arms and a smile stretched across my face. We poured our souls into that bonfire, fueling it as it seemed to swallow the world around us.

We called it a “fireside chat,” mimicking FDR’s signature radio broadcasts. For hours we sat and talked about anything. About everything. Life itself slowed.

Paul, Dan, Evan and I have been inseparable for ages, essentially living out of Evan’s “man cave.” As our final year together approached, we had gathered that night to ponder our futures.

Paul began. He told a tale of simple pleasure and mediocrity; an American ideal. Evan and Dan followed suit, spinning stories about their average aspirations.

I sat unmoving, gaze transfixed near the core of the fire. It cracked and fizzled as a break in conversation approached.

“So what about you, Kevin?” Dan questioned. “You’ve been awfully quiet this whole time.”

Silence was my immediate reply. I scoured my brain for an obvious answer, but I merely continued my stare straight ahead.

With a long blink I replied simply: “I dunno.” I turned my head toward the stars, again looking at nothing in particular. “Not specifically, anyway.”

The quiet echoed in the air. “I mean all that’s great, having a family and everything, but, it’s not enough. Not for me.”

“It’s all too ordinary. I want to make an impact. A huge one. Helping the world one case at a time isn’t enough, I want to redefine it; change the way everyone thinks and everything works.”

“And I’m not sure how I’m going to do it yet. I’ve got so many talents, so much potential, the opportunities are endless. I can’t pick just one way to go from here.”

“So I’m alright not knowing for now…but when I do, everyone will.”

I nodded lightly and reflected in approval of my speech, my vision again redirected toward the fire. Our voices became part of the crackling flame, the cadence of the wind overtaking the air.

I was truly at peace. In that moment, I wasn’t merely a saint or sinner. On our mote of dust, we are defined by our ambitions and our impacts. I want to be so much more than a king forgotten in history. That moment I was something more. I was someone who planned to clutch our world in his hands, someone who could not be overlooked with time.

As moments become months, that feeling remains. I am going to make an impact. Our world; our lives cannot be simplified into a single sentence. My life is going to be extraordinary and I refuse to be simply suspended in a sunbeam.

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