Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm Thankful For My Space ...

My, this year is flying by. Here it is Thanksgiving already. I do not know if my older age has anything to do with it or if time is just speeding up. I do know that time is fleeting and waits on no man.

The thoughts whirling around in my head have to do with this ever-rapid passing of time and the season of Thanksgiving. Everyday should be a day of Thanksgiving but do we get into such a rush that we fail to pause and be thankful? Recently, one of our astronauts caused me to think about our hurried lifestyles. Allow me to explain.

Glenn Nichols and I attend the same church in Sugar Land, Texas. A few Sundays ago Glenn shared an interesting story with our Bible class. Glenn along with his wife Jean were among guests invited by Doug Wheelock to view the recent launching of space shuttle Discovery. Wheelock is the astronaut who assisted Scott Parazynski with the space walk repair of a torn solar wing outside the Space Station. Doug’s reflections follow:

“ … It is an incredible experience out here in space and it quite frankly takes my breath away and brings me to tears when I look out the window at the Earth just hanging there in space! It’s almost as if my mind has such a difficult time comprehending the sight, that it doesn’t seem real. Last night while Scott (Parazynski) and Dan (Tani) were in the airlock, I took just a few minutes, by myself, and just looked out the window at the Earth. I figured out that tears don’t stream down your face in space. They just combine into one big tear-ball and float away! I just can’t believe I am here! I just keep singing to myself, “How Great Thou Art,” when I look at the power and majesty of God’s beautiful creation! Being outside on a spacewalk was so surreal … “

I looked up the word “surreal” to double-check the meaning and found it to be: “ … a process that attempts to express the workings of the subconscious by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject matter.”

Well, I had to do a little more dictionary research to clarify all of that first definition. Astronaut Wheelock was saying that it was mind-boggling trying to grasp the scenes he was seeing. In other words, taking what seemed to be so illogical and uncustomary and placing them side by side with reality in true time.

As Glenn Nichols was sharing this with our class, a Bible scripture came to mind. Psalm 19 is one of my favorite Bible passages. If you have not read this Psalm in a while, please give it a review. A portion of it reads as follows:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world.”

I believe Doug Wheelock was attempting to describe just what the Psalmist was expressing in Psalm 19.

Certainly, if Doug can pause for a few moments in a spacecraft to enjoy meditations of praise and thanksgiving by “ … observing the majesty and power of God’s beautiful creation,” then we should take time daily to reflect with thanksgiving the blessings we enjoy.

I do thank God that I live in this great country where there is freedom to express views such as this. In fact some may exercise the freedom to disagree. I am thankful for that, too.

Winston Hamby
The Beaumont Enterprise


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