|Stephen Hawking, close to the sun.|
Not surprisingly many people violently disagree with his theories. (Just check out the YouTube videos with titles like "Stephen Hawking is an Idiot".) Nevertheless, it's undeniable that he's survived and thrived in spite of apparently insuperable odds, the kind of circumstances that lead parents to say to whiny children, "You think you have it bad? Look at ________! He's got something to cry about!"
The other night I tuned in to an episode of "Stephen Hawking's Grand Design", a TV series on Discovery Channel based on Hawking's book. It's fascinating, for sure, although from time to time I got more than a little confused as he tried to make the inexplicable clear to a numbskull like me, but only served to further cloud the waters.
But one thing did strike me. At the beginning of each episode, Hawking introduces himself the same way:
"Hello, my name is Stephen Hawking: physicist, cosmologist and something of a dreamer. Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind...I am free."
I've been trying to start and end each day with a little prayer and meditation, with limited success. But the minute I heard those words I connected, I understood. I felt a sense of peace. So I think I'm going to try starting out with a variation on Hawking's intro. I'll just substitute "physicist" and "cosmologist" with "academic co-ordinator" and "artist". And say "Although I have to work five days a week and have (fill in the malady), and have to (fill in the complaint du jour)...in my mind, I am free."
How beautiful is that?