Hepatitis C has taught me that I carry all of life in me. Just as a drop of ocean contains everything that is in the ocean, so it is with me. In A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson wrote, “Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms-up to a billion for each of us, it has been suggested-probably once belonged to Shakespeare. A billion more each came from Buddha and Genghis Kahn and Beethoven, and any other historical figure you care to name.”
I don’t like thinking that a bit of Genghis Kahn is in me, but I can think of many more incredible people whose atoms I’d love to share. Just thinking that I walk the same earth and breathe the same air as Buddha, Jesus, Hildegard of Bingen, Helen Keller, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King makes me shiver with delight.