Photo by DMP

Do you ever think about the bigness of the world? It happens to me often that I’ll remember a segment of the world, a foreign country, or a cluster of countries, and suddenly my city feels very, very small.

Recently I met a couple of Kyrgyzstani young men who helped me to experience the smallness of Chicago afresh. The day I met the first young man, I realized I only roughly understood where in the world his home country was. So I pulled up a map on my phone. When just a couple weeks later, I met another Kyrgyzstani person, I was excited to announce I knew exactly where that was. But I pulled up the map again to be sure.

The CPS failed me. As a person who both grew up in a first generation American home and learning the cultures of three different countries, I feel fortunate to have realized early on that my American public education left a lot to be learned about countries outside of our own. Even so, my understanding of the proportional size and population of the U.S. as compared to other countries remained highly skewed until I was in college, when someone created an infographic to highlight the facts.

I like to think about the bigness of the world. All the people groups there are. The various surfaces and terrains of the earth. It makes me uncomfortable. The thousands of languages spoken. The array of foods crafted. It fills me with wonder. All the distance between us. All the lives. It humbles me. All the creative potential of life. It energizes me.

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