Saturday, January 29, 2011

To touch the face of God

The Shock
(by R.P.Edwards)

A sudden shock
Untimely death
All to focus
Holding breath
No time for these
It’s only life
And prayerful knees
How sad it takes
The jarring crack
To break our bondage
Bring us…back
But rest assured
That time will soothe
And forgetful we
We’ll wayward…move

I was sitting in the University classroom.  It was my normal routine.  I don’t remember the subject offered; nor the teacher who taught; but I do remember Dr. Monson popping his head in the door.  He, a middle-aged gent (a bit crusty, navy vet) was paler than usual as he relayed the shocking information: the space shuttle Challenger had exploded a little over a minute into its flight.  All seven aboard, including Social Studies teacher, Christa McAuliffe, died. Many in America watched and, by the end of the day, we, as a nation…refocused; at least for a little while.

Funny, I don’t remember a whole lot from my University days.  This Challenger episode, however, was a notable bookmark.  And it’s still there; twenty five years later.

Now, at this point I was going to gently segue into the sad truth that often it takes a jarring stop before we realize we’re on the wrong road; or at least drifting towards the rail.  But, due to a work interlude, I’ve had time to reconsider and I just don’t want to go there…today.  Instead I offer a couple links for your perusing.  The first is the speech given by President Ronald Reagan on that fateful day.  It, of course, finishes with the famous line:   We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."  Reagan Speech

I thought it only appropriate to have the complete poem from which the words come.  It is titled, High Flight, and was written by a young aviator who died at 19 during World War II.    High Flight

Also, here is a link to President Bush’s speech concerning the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy.  Worth reading.  Columbia Speech

Conclusion? This life, at its longest; is short.   It would be wise to consider our individual ends.  For we all, sooner or later, will slip the surely bonds of earth….


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