LeBron James and the Miracle of Human Consciousness

Eliza N. has been our guest before. We’re glad she came back to share these thoughts.

As I watched LeBron James weep while embracing the NBA championship trophy Sunday night, I was flooded with my own emotions. I have this thing about crying whenever I see someone else cry, but I also have this thing where I get really emotional anytime I witness a really incredible moment—something that stands out, when time slows down just a little, and I am overwhelmed by the blessing it is to be alive, to be on the earth to witness something amazing. (Also, I was still very tired from my own achievement of running the Ragnar Wasatch Back past weekend, and isn’t everyone more emotional when they’re tired?)

LeBron James is two months younger than I am, and I have always felt a particular kinship with him as I have watched him during his career and seen how hard he has worked and all he has accomplished in our thirty-one years. I’m so proud of him, but I would have felt like this even if the other team had won, because this is an experience that doesn’t require your team winning. It is simply about the wonder of the human experience. Whether it be expressed in the remarkable human achievement of an athlete seeing the work of decades pay off, or in a flawless performance of a powerful poem or song, or in the brilliant writing of a magnum opus of a musical about a founding father of a country, or in running farther and faster than you thought you could and to do it on very little sleep—there is something about seeing people achieve much that makes me feel incredibly proud of them, even if I have no strong personal connection to them besides recognizing in them the things we share as fellow human beings. It is simply the profound experience of witnessing someone exceed expectations, pushing themselves a little farther, excelling in their field and in their humanity.

In sport, the arts, and in the magnitude of the human experience, where records are set, where the depths of emotion are felt, where humanity shows the best of itself in moments of compassion to the least of these, I am struck by the thought of what it means for a person to have “filled the measure of [their] creation” (D&C 88:19). And the more I ponder on that, I am struck by the idea of the vicarious experience of filling the measure of our creation by witnessing human achievement. This is the beauty of sport, of community, of the arts, and of witnessing history being made. I cannot help but be overwhelmed by unironic enthusiasm for the miracle of human consciousness, as the writer John Green would put it.

I used to think that filling the measure of my creation meant being a mother—that motherhood would be the crowning achievement of my life and the most important thing that I could accomplish. So far, I have not yet had the experience of being a mother, and that has opened my eyes to all the possibilities that life has to offer beyond just that narrow goal. I do think motherhood is an enormous achievement and accomplishment, but I now understand that it is not the defining role of everything I can achieve and experience on this earth as a child of Heavenly Parents.

We are on the earth for what is relatively such a short amount of time. There is so much potential in us for what we can achieve, experience, witness, and create. I frequently find myself busy with different activities, interests, and hobbies and try to figure out what I need to cut out so that I have time for the most important things, but I struggle limiting myself. I love being well-rounded, even if it means I am a jack of all trades but real master of none. This is how I “live deliberately” and “suck out all the marrow of life” (Henry David Thoreau, Walden) and how I am filling the measure of my creation—by trying to experience everything life and human consciousness have to offer in the short amount of time that I have both.

“Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now” (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton).


  1. Native Clevelander here. Lots of tears were shed in my household.

  2. That block defies the laws of physics and I suspect LeBron is from the planet Krypton.

  3. And Eliza – your words moved me to tears. It is powerful to have a sense of your own purpose.

  4. Eliza N. says:

    Steve – That block! HOW!

    And thank you. High praise indeed.

  5. You poetically connected so many beautiful themes here and I loved how this went in unexpected but lovely places.

    I have similar feelings when I see people killing it at their art or sport. Scott teases me that I always say how proud I am of people I don’t even know. Like after watching Toy Story 3 or the finale of Breaking Bad, I get a little teary being so proud of all the players who created something I’m so moved by.

    I always love what you write!

  6. This is wonderful. You could probably write an entire post on the block. It was an instance of rising to the moment, of being aware of the big picture. If that play happens during a Wednesday night in January, there’s a good chance he doesn’t accelerate it’s a made basket for Iguodala.

    But it happened on the world stage, and LeBron knew the magnitude of everything around him. The sports pride of a city and region, where he grew up, was on the line. The finals for Cleveland were as much about his proving he could lead a team to victory as they were about a city with a 52-year title drought.

    So he realized that he was probably the only one who could and would produce the result of that play. As a Spurs fan, I watched him rally his team in Game 6 in 2013 as the Heat were down by 5 and the trophy was being brought out with about 20 seconds left in the game. He assured it wasn’t necessary (with help from Chris Bosh and Ray Allen).

    May we all understand the gravity of the occasion like he does.

  7. Eliza N. says:

    Rob, that was perfect. Great analysis.

  8. J Stuart says:

    Thanks, Eliza.

  9. mmunguia says:

    Finding deep human meaning through sports moments. Quoting John Green. Quoting Hamilton. Speaking about the miracle of our shared humanity. Feeling the weight of all the lives you can’t live and human experience you can’t possibly pack into this brief life. Eliza N., I don’t know who you are but can we please be best friends?

  10. Eliza N says:

    @mmunguia – I don’t know who you are either, but ok!

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