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Dark Matter

I found out some fascinating information while reading some of my daughter’s high school science with her from a book by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson, called We Have No Idea. Did you know scientists have discovered evidence of something in space that is completely unlike any matter we currently understand? They believe it makes up about 27% of the universe, yet it is invisible and regular matter and other dark matter can’t seem to touch it. Just in case you haven’t taken a science course in awhile, everything we know to exist makes up about 5% of the universe, according to these same scientists. Basically, we know very little about this stuff, yet it has a name and several theories about what it is and how it acts.

When you really stop to think about dark matter, you realize how little we know about the universe. Despite our limited understanding, we desperately try to organize and define it by the things we do know. One of the challenges scientists are having in understanding dark matter is that it doesn’t behave like anything else they have seen. Our understanding of the bigger picture (27%) is limited because we are only able to experience and interact with a smaller set of information (5%). I wonder if what we think we know about what currently exists will change once we understand more about dark matter. Maybe it isn’t dark at all. Maybe some things don’t matter as much as we think they do and maybe some things matter more.

As I have been sharing in my blog, one of the projects I am working on is the launch of my book, Because of 4. This story is the start of a journey for me in which I am coming to understand dark matter. You see, I thought I had teaching all figured out. Just like any teacher, I had wins and losses. I nurtured the science and the art of my teaching; getting advanced degrees, continuously learning, working with a community of teachers and reflecting on my practice. As my Uncle Ron says, “I did good work.” But my perspective and my view was limited to the small world with which I was familiar. It turns out, there is a much bigger universe out there and I was barely scratching the surface. I’ll never forget the day my view shifted. There was a moment which I can’t describe any other way except that I was not myself. I was a better version of myself. In that moment I truly saw one of my students, not from my perspective, but from his. I gave him exactly what he needed at that moment. I didn’t tell, show or teach, I just was. That moment changed everything.

I’m working on editing this week and it is filled with a lot of dark matter. As I continue to tell my story and work on this weekly blog, it’s like peeling back an onion. Each time I think I have it, I peel back another layer. I’m continuously discovering who I am as a writer and as a person. It’s challenging because on the one hand I know I want to and need to finish the book so that I can share it with all of you, but on the other hand I am also realizing it will never be truly finished. There will always be more to uncover, discover and understand.

Although it’s held some pretty dark matters over the last two and a half years, moving has been one of the greatest blessings. Knowing I was leaving before the school year was over forced me to be intentional, made me vulnerable and opened my eyes to a different viewpoint, which all led to the creation of Because of 4. I also have been forced to look at life differently. Daily, my animals and the nature around me teach me lessons about myself and life I would never know existed. My community and friends are different. My faith is different. Even the food I eat and the daily habits I have are different. Often in life we shy away from darkness. We don’t know what will happen or how it will affect us. But in reality, the dark matters just as much as the light. Through moments of darkness we uncover our strengths, see things differently, or gain a new perspective. As we move forward, we are able to leave the darkness behind. As I was riding this week, there was darkness behind me, but it didn’t matter because I was focused on moving forward. I wasn’t looking back at the darkness, I was focused on the light and green pasture ahead.

Today represents a day of darkness for many people. Many people lost their lives, their loved ones and their security on this day. It opened up for us a reality we didn’t know existed. Everything changed. I hope for all of us, the dark mattered. I hope it made us hold our loved ones a little tighter, and open our hearts to those who needed our love. I hope it helped us understand that what is important to us right now in this moment, is but a speck in the countless moments that exist throughout the universe. I hope out of the darkness, we find love. After all, dark matter might not be dark at all. Maybe today as we remember and pray for the darkness of this day, we can also build on what we have learned and gained and move forward to the light and green pastures ahead.

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