The grand scheme of things

We’ve all said it before — “in the grand scheme of things…” What does it mean? When you drop in relativity, that grand scheme stranges out very quickly. Not only that, but moment to moment the grand scheme shifts and morphs. So, what is the grand scheme of things? Let’s go all Tears For Fears and break it down.

Ah Youth

When I was a young child — the grand scheme of things was fairly limited to Saturday morning cartoons, which girl would check “Yes” on the note I’d pass around asking “Will you go with me?”, and how long I could play outside before darkness fell. I didn’t have the mental and emotional faculties to know the grander scheme of things could actually include financial security or poverty, life or death.

As I matured… let me rephrase that… as I grew older, the concept began to make sense to me and the grand scheme of things started weighing on my shoulders and heart. The exponentiality of concern that grew with the issues of adulthood drew a very clear picture.

The relativity of the grand scheme of things fluctuates, evolves, and even changes us.


I’m involved in a number of “communities”. Family, cycling, writing, technology — are probably the foremost in my life (in no uncertain order). At any given moment, one of those will be in the forefront of my mind and might even weigh a bit more heavily. But when I really open up the filter of truth, things start to take on a whole different meaning. That newer meaning casts a shadow over everything and makes me ask a single question:

What is the grandest scheme of things?

Is it life? Is it death? Is it family? Is it fame, money, or power? Or, to quote Primus… Is it luck (and I’m not talking “luck” of the “Andrew” type)?

Cryptic much? Why yes! I’ll continue to clarify.


Let me use my writing career as an example. Why? That was the part of my life that inspired this post. A simple question popped into my mind:

What is it that drives me to write?

Almost every writer I know looks at their sales on a daily basis — or hourly basis (it’s all relative). Why? The need to know if books are actually selling is a powerful motivator for many. Every once in a while I get caught up in the sales typhoon, until my brain stops me and says…

Say it with me…

The grand scheme of things!

That’s nice.

Why I Write

If I really look hard at what it is that drives me to write, I draw these conclusions:

  • I write because I love to write and have stories I want to share.
  • The connection to readers and fans and creating something that brings them joy.
  • The thrill of creating

Ultimately, my writing is not just about me. Let me put this into a grander scheme of perspective here.

I have one particular fan who has gone through a great deal in their life. That fan went so far to say that my books helped them get through a very rough period when things were looking rather grim. That, my friends, is the gander scheme of things. Dollars are nothing compared to helping others make it through.

What comes clear with that explanation is that dear reader’s problems were far more important than me selling a book. The payback for me was that I made a positive difference in that person’s life.

  • Oh but wait — the East coast was just smacked upside the head with a disaster in the form of Hurricane Sandy.
  • Yes, but… there is still starvation in Africa.
  • Of course we can’t forget hundreds of thousands of innocent bystanders caught in the middle of a centuries-old war.

What Is this “Important”?

You see where this is going? This should make you ask a very crucial question: What is the single most important thing to you? And beyond that, what is the single most important thing to mankind? I know, I know — it’s a slippery slope. At one point in my life I found myself standing up for so many causes, I didn’t have time to sit down.  It took nearly a decade to finally figure out what was truly important to me.

My step daughter says something when she whines about an issue, knowing the issue really has no substance. That saying?

First World Problems

First world problems arrive when your flat iron doesn’t work or you chipped a nail before the big dance. If you’re upset that your budget can’t afford you to go out to eat tonight, you’ve a First World Problem on your hands. If, however, you have no idea where your next meal is coming from, you have something worse than a First World Problem.

The grander scheme of things at work.

So when you start thinking things are bad, it’s really easy to stop and say “Yeah, but they could be worse!” No matter who you are, things could be worse — at least until you’ve finally arrived at that one person who honestly has the worst problems known to man. I’m really doubting it’s you with the Beige Bars of Doom, or you with the scratch on your BMW, or even those of you who can’t seem to fit in those size 0 jeans!

If I had to stop and answer the question “What is the single most important thing to you?”… my answer would be ‘Peace’.

What about you?