So – you’re a proton? Nice to meet you.
You are as close to eternal as this physical universe gets, and that means you have been around for a long, long time. During that time, I know you have been a part of nearly infinite numbers of masses, but somewhere along the line you settled down.
I guess your partying days are long over now that the strong interaction force has bound you into a nucleus, huh? You share your nucleus with seven other protons? And 8 neutrons?
That means you’re part of breathable oxygen – awesome! Now I am really glad to meet you, because you and billions upon billions of others just like you are the reason creatures like me can live and breathe.
It is amazing to think that at some unbelievably ancient time, you formed as the universe cooled from a state of infinite energy and got to around 1028 º K (about 1.8 billion billion billion ºF, that’s a 1.8 followed by 27 zeroes). You couldn’t exist before that because all the forces in the universe were one force. The universe literally was just a giant nothing, but then gravity dropped out and then the weak interaction force started to break away, it was really just a matter of time for you, wasn’t it? It took you what, 10-32 seconds to form, and you have been around ever since.
What was it like to be the biggest, heaviest thing in the universe? Not having to share space because you were the only mass there was? Sure, electrons and other leptons were around but they only have mass in a Higgs field interaction. They don’t really count.
Why didn’t you just stay that way? You ran the universe – not that there was anything to run.
Why organize? It is not like the universe had to have a strong interaction force that pulled you out of flat space and formed nuclei from you. And isn’t like there has to be the inevitable decay from the weak interaction force.
But there is.
For some reason, you did organize yourself into nuclei.
For some reason, your positive electromagnetic properties pulled electrons into orbit around you.
For some reason, you pulled yourselves together and then were smashed by the weak interaction force.
For some reason, you compressed into yourself and started nuclear fusion – ultimately producing all of the elements heavier than hydrogen. You got fused together with seven other protons and became an oxygen molecule.
How did it happen? Why?
It can’t be random chance that I am breathing you, right now, proton in an oxygen molecule.
It is amazing to think that your existence marks the beginning of time. Before you, there was no matter and therefore no time.
You’re not only the reason I can exist. Your presence is the reason I can know I exist. You really are an awesome particle.
And you were created and guided. There’s really no other reason for your existence. You didn’t happen by accident. The laws that are part of the fabric of space and time that you define tell us that there must be a lawgiver.
You show me that I am not a random accident. That you are an intentional creation, of an intentional maker.
And that gives me hope.