So Small as to be Negligible (Allegiant)

This scene from Allegiant is haunting:

The plane is silent around me except for the steady roar of the engine.
“Whoa,” says Uriah.

“Shh,” Christina replies.

“How big is it compared to the rest of the world?” Peter says from across the plane. He sounds like he’s choking on each word.

“Our city, I mean. In terms of land area. What percentage?”

“Chicago takes up about two hundred twenty-seven square miles,” says Zoe.

“The land area of the planet is a little less than two hundred million square miles. The percentage is . . . so small as to be negligible.”

She delivers the facts calmly, as if they mean nothing to her. But they hit me square in the stomach, and I feel squeezed, like something is crushing me into myself. So much space. I wonder what it’s like in the places beyond ours; I wonder how people live there.

I look out the window again, taking slow, deep breaths… And as I stare out at the land, I think that this, if nothing else, is compelling evidence for my parents’ God, that our world is so massive that it is completely out of our control, that we cannot possibly be as large as we feel.

So small as to be negligible.

It’s strange, but there’s something in that thought that makes me almost… free.

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