Cozy Little Cosmos

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I live with my family 15 miles outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Looking from my front door to the north are the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost range of the Rockies. Looking south you see the Ortiz and Sandia mountains, on the other side of which is the city of Albuquerque. To our west are the rolling pinks, reds, and tans of the Cerrillos Hills speckled with the deep green of a thousand juniper trees. In the summertime, when the sun sets over the hills, the explosion of pink, red, orange, yellow, and purple is almost more than you can bear.

Because we live outside of a small city, we are blessed with dark nights; only the glow of Albuquerque over the Sandias and of the state prison several miles down the road break the darkness. On clear, moonless nights you can see more stars than you thought imaginable. You can see the Milky Way, which I always mistake for a cloud before I realize anew that it’s millions of our neighbor stars.

I am surrounded daily by sights that remind me of the vastness of our world and how that vastness pales in comparison to our galaxy and our universe. Most days I am able to drink in the immense beauty of the place I live, to see the handiwork of God in the mountains, the hills, the trees, and the stars. I feel connected to the land, my family, the universe, our goats, our horses, and our two polar bear-looking dogs.

But none of us lives a life without some kind of despair. There are days when I look up at the sky and the vastness of space and don’t feel the majesty of it all, only the vast emptiness. In the same way, the mountains sometimes make me feel small and insignificant. We are not alone when we feel this way. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’s disciples fell asleep in his moment of anguish, and on the cross he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Now, on the other side of Easter, we know Jesus wasn’t abandoned by God. We also are not abandoned and alone. In our desolation, God reaches out to us. The whole of the created universe wraps us up like a warm blanket, like G.K. Chesterton’s “cosy little cosmos.” We may be one small part of a vast and large universe, but we are also loved fully by the same God who set the stars in the sky, set the planets and moons in their orbits, and made the mountains and sprouted the trees.

About the Painting

All the Moons of Our Solar System, to Scale, in Order of Closeness to the Sun
watercolor on linen
Stella Maria Baer

Learn more about Seth & Stella.

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