I believe this photo is now over twelve years old but I still find it fascinating and genuinely awe-inspiring.
I found myself thinking of it today and was struggling with the scale of it all. I am no astronomer, but I understand this is a star factory. It is called the Eagle Nebula, with its soaring star factories dubbed the Pillars of Creation. It is star birth in action, all captured in vivid color by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The scale of it is so difficult to comprehend but our Earth would not show up in any way if it were placed within in the scale of this photograph.
While I am not suggesting we all sit around star gazing, the scale of creation in general can be useful in putting everyday issues in perspective.
I recently had to deal with a rather peeved team member over some extra ‘compassionate leave’ given to a colleague at the time a family member died. Peeved team member had lost his father earlier this year and had been given a total of seven days leave in addition to his normal twenty-five days holiday. However at the age of forty-eight he could not countenance that someone might get more compassionate leave than he did.
As diplomatically as I could I implied that it was none of his business and it was a matter for HR, the powers that be in such matters. He grumbled that, if the colleague were given more leave than he, he would want some retroactive compassionate leave.
I tried to end the conversation having already taken half an hour on ‘the issue’. I was frankly bemused that a man of forty-eight years could be so petty, so jealous, so pathetic in his desire for ‘equality’ in work. He has worked too long in the office, has lost his sense of perspective and, although fundamentally a nice man, has become embittered in his pursuit of equal treatment, when in reality there will never be equal or certainly not identical treatment of human situations that always vary and are never the same.
If I hadn't been constrained by the need to act ‘professionally’ and the somber nature of circumstances behind compassionate leave I would have laughed at the very concept that he could get compassionate leave retroactively.
I find the sense of entitlement and the concern over office life amazing in one who seems to have lived most of life's main experiences.
Perhaps I'll take a print of the pillars into work sometime. Maybe it could just bring home that our lives are but one tiny portion of all life that is spread over time and space. Against that, the leave of a colleague might assume slightly less significance than it does at present.