Los Angeles Lights & Other Lives

Have you ever had a moment where something much bigger than you humbled you?

Out of nowhere you take in something that gives you a reality check and makes you feel incredibly grateful for your life?

Let me tell you about one that happened to me last Saturday evening.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Associated Collegiate Press journalism conference in Los Angeles. It was a whirlwind experience full of growth and learning about the journalism industry and the craft of journalism. I had the time of my life and was deeply sad to go.

Saturday night four of my fellow journalism team members and I left the convention hotel to explore. I had never seen the Hollywood sign before and was determined to see it this time. We drove down Hollywood boulevard and I was absolutely mesmerized by all the lights, tall buildings, and busy crowds.

I felt like a small child in a giant toy store; mouth agape and dewey eyes wide open.

Spontaneously I looked at my iPhone’s GPS and realized we were only minutes away from Griffith Observatory. It was pretty easy convincing my friends to adventure on up to the beautiful observatory. We drove up the winding road right to the observatory as it was closing.

There were still dozens of people wandering about the observatory grounds, taking in all the sights. So, thankfully we did not stand out and were unlikely to get asked to leave because it was closed.

I was able to see the darkened Hollywood sign on the mountain behind the observatory. Unfortunately, it does not get lit up at night because of a nearby residential neighborhood, but it was still cool to see in the dim distance.

However, it was not the Hollywood sign that knocked me off my feet into a new realm of appreciation for my life. This happened on the outer deck of the observatory.

Eventually we all wandered onto the deck of the observatory that overlooks all of Los Angeles.

My eyes took in millions of glittering lights in every direction. Golden, white, blue, red, and every other color glistened in the ongoing distance.

The glowing sea of lights was endless.

And I could not help but to think of the thousands, probably millions, of lives I was looking at from a distance.

Watsky, one of my favorite musical artists, has in one of their songs the following lyric:

There’s 7 billion 46 million people on the planet
And most of us have the audacity to think we matter.

This very lyric resonated deeply within me and came to mind instantly as I took in this magnificent sight.

Now, do not get me wrong. I believe every life, including my own, matters.

The problems I face should never be diminished just because someone else is experiencing a “worse” problem.

But it is humbling to think about all the other lives in the world, what they need, who they are, what they might be going through.

To feel suddenly so small but suddenly not so alone is a strange yet relieving feeling.

Sometimes it is okay to be reminded that it could be worse.

And maybe I only truly understand the feeling I am talking about because I have clinical depression. Or maybe you reading this know exactly what I mean.

But at the end of the day this wondrous sight I took in at the Griffith Observatory at 10 PM on February 20th made me realize other people matter so much.

When was the last time you went out of your way to do something kind for someone? Someone who, maybe, did not even deserve your kindness? Someone you might not even know?

There are so many of us out here in the world. And all of us have our own struggles and battles.

And maybe everything would be a little bit better if we felt a little less alone and little more humbled about our lives.

So the thought I want to leave you with is this:

What have you done, or can you do, today to make life more light for someone else?

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