Today marked an end of an era as the last space shuttle mission punched through the confines of earth, never to rise again. It was also the end of an era for the 30,000 people who worked in some capacity with the space shuttle and are now scrambling to find new employment. It’s the end of an era, also, for America’s shuttle astronauts and their families.
My husband moved to the Houston area when he was seven because his father, my father-in-law, had been selected to be an astronaut candidate. When my husband was 12, he witnessed his father rocket far into space. In some sense, no matter what success he reaches in this earthly life, my husband will always measure his deeds against those of his father. Who can top going into outer space?
When the Lord directed my father-in-law to the pilot’s chair, He set into action a series of unique life events that shaped not only the astronaut, but also the astronaut’s family. The space program shaped my husband and helped mold him into the innovative, creative, technical, business-savvy and analytical man that I love. For the past three decades, the reality of space flight for my husband has been more than just flickering images on television screens and headlines in newspapers. He stood on the top of a building with other astronaut families and watched his dad rocket into outer space. He mingled with other astronauts and their children and still maintains friendships with them as their shared experiences provide a unique, “down to earth” bond. He has told me before that America’s astronauts are everyday people who happen to follow extraordinary dreams. Seeing their work come to an end today was decidedly bittersweet.
In particular, my daughter experienced tears and sadness at witnessing the end of space flight as we know it. Someone once told me that when the Lord closes a door, He opens a window. I have put my faith in Him and have experienced that reality over and over again. I can’t help but think that He delights in OUR delight in his creation and in the awe it produces in us as we take in the majesty he created…so I have to hope and believe that as this door is closing, the Lord is preparing to open another.
My daughter and her Trekkie friends spend time together discussing the various methods that “warp drive” propulsion could be created. They discuss space and time in ways that bend my brain waves and give me a headache…but they enjoy it! I take hope in their God-given interest. As my husband told our twelve-year-old daughter today,
The future is your canvas! Work towards your dreams!
May the Lord establish her steps — and the work of her hands — as she endeavors to follow those dreams — and perhaps those dreams will include space flight technology so we will, as a country, say goodbye to one form of space flight only to say hello to another, if the Lord so wills!
The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.