By Amed S. Mullins, 2L
San Diego – August 12, 2017, seven acquaintances and I pile into a Forester armed with beer and snacks to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower at Cuyamaca National Park. It is an annual shower, and this is my first time living in a place where pollution from the city lights prevented me from simply going outside to view comet debris. There were one hundred or more meteors streaking across the night sky per hour! So at my request, I convinced a group of essentially perfect strangers to head out of the city to view the show. Outside is where I go to recharge, and I could not think of a better way to spend my last free weekend before starting fall classes. However, unbeknownst to me, I learned a lot about myself and human interactions. These lessons are applicable in people’s day-to-day lives, and I hope this story will invoke thoughtful reflection or perhaps touch at least one heart.
I am not sure when being honest with people began to give me anxiety because just as George Washington supposedly said (I was not there) after chopping down his father’s cherry tree, “I cannot tell a lie,” I am almost just as capable. Just to give everyone a little bit of LSAT PTSD (beware of “extreme” language), cannot is just so definitive. Growing up in the rural south and later moving to Nashville, Tennessee, small places tend to hold people more accountable. People think twice about flying off the handle on someone who they are more likely to encounter on a regular basis or an individual who might be responsible for the sheet cake at your daughter’s wedding since there is only one or two places in the town to fill the order.
Lying and each person’s truth are relevant to the stars because while I was laying there watching Perseid’s shower, I knew I had to be honest with my fellow star gazers–I wanted to enjoy the sounds of insects and the busy quiet of simply being. There was only one problem, the group of city dwellers I brought along with me were obnoxious. They were so obnoxious that the three large groups of people who arrived before us left to watch the light show elsewhere. We have forgotten tolerance and moderation in today’s society. Seeing as I was a chaperone and it would be morally wrong (although, some would beg to differ) to leave a group of people stranded two hours away from the city, I settled for climbing on top of my vehicle and watching the meteor shower with my miniature poodle from the rooftop.
Despite the environmental cues, the strangers were unfazed by the fact that three microcosms of individuals had gravitated away from our own little microcosm. The group continued to “ooh and ahh” at every. single. meteor. I finally gathered the courage to politely explain to them that they have been chatting for hours and it would be nice to enjoy the evening actually watching the meteor shower for a while. I did not accomplish the silence I desired, but I made progress. Yet, I was content with this. I meditated the rest of the evening on how there were so many truths floating out in the universe and how speaking these truths should not give me, or anyone else for that matter, anxiety. If shooting space debris can live in harmony hundreds of miles away, surely the rest of us down here on Earth can too.
We are all giant clusters of stars; I view the law school as a cluster of stars. What would it be like if we all respected one another’s truths, treated each other with respect, basic human decency, if we did not shun and treat those different from ourselves with contempt? And yes, this includes groups of people who may be obnoxious. You never know what kind of energy and love you may receive by simply opening your eyes and being aware that we are all people floating around in this universe trying to figure out what this is all for. We are all small stars collectively making up a whole, and we all deserve to be loved. I am really glad I got to see the meteor (it was breath-taking), and I would not change a thing about the seven strangers I encountered that evening and I am proud of my capacity to treat people with love and respect. I pray that we do not allow the times to change who we are fundamentally as people, and I challenge everyone here to float amongst other stars. Learn from one another, try to be uplifting toward all people, remember that each person in this building has someone who loves them and hopes for that individual’s success. We burn brighter and stronger together than apart.