I have this friend who is a rocket scientist. Really. He works at JPL, and he supervises the development of little things like this. His name is Dave, and he is a remarkable guy; one of the funniest people I know. I was thinking about Dave today, while heading back to the office on the freeway.
I was also thinking about Dark Matter. I heard a piece on NPR a couple of weeks ago while in the shower (we have a shower radio) that almost made me want to fall to the tiled floor in amazement. Or crumple up in a ball and hide in the corner. Or maybe run outside and look up at the sky and weep.
How is it that I am here? At this time. On this planet. Surrounded by family that loves me. But there are others on this planet that face such pain and poverty that they don't know if they will make it another day. How is all this? I thought some of these same questions 26 years ago, as I was beginning my senior year at UCLA. I stood of the verge of the rest of my life, having nearly completed my degree, and wondering what I was going to do after college. What would my life look like? Who would I marry, would I even marry in the first place? Would there be children? Would I make enough money to be independent? Would I be happy? What is happiness, really, anyway?
And these questions, along with some remarkable relationships with some good Christian people, lead me to church. There, for the first time in my life, I heard about this man. Jesus. And my life has never been the same since.
My friend Dave knows more about the Hubble Space Telescope, Infared Astronomy, and Dark Matter than almost all of the rest of us do. He can make a Delta rocket lift very heavy things into space to study things most of us earth people can barely get our minds around. And interestingly enough, my friend Dave has had an encounter with Jesus also.
This leads me to my drive home from my Mom & Dads home the other evening. I had gone over at the end of the day to check on some clean-up work we are doing before we rent the house out. It always feels sort of strange to wander around that now dark and cold home, with all the items from my childhood memories laid out - in anticipation of a coming estate sale. How did I get from that house in Arcadia to our house in South Pasadena, about 7.5 miles, over the course of the past 25 years or so. Who lead me? Who was I following, and what was I following? And why?
As I drove home the sky was quite remarkable. A brilliant sunset after a couple of days of rain. It was cold, brisk, weather that sort of wakes you up. And then, a song by Sara Groves come on the CD player in the car:
I've been feeling kind of restless. I've been feeling out of place. I can hear a distant singing, a song that I can't write, but it echoes in what I'm always trying to say. There's a feeling I can't capture. It's always just a prayer away. I want to know the ending, things hoped for but not seen, but I guess that's the point in hoping anyway. . Chorus: Going home, I'll meet you at the table. Going home, I'll meet you in the air. You are never too young to think about it. Oh, I cannot wait to be home . I'm confined by my senses to really know what you are like. You are more than I can fathom, more than I can guess, and more than I can see with human sight. . But I have felt you with my spirit. I have felt you fill this room. This is just an invitation, a sample of the whole, and I cannot wait to be going home. . Chorus . Face to face how can it be? Face to face how can it be? Face to face how can it be?
The sunset was stunning. My eyes filled with tears. I don't feel ready to go home yet. I love it here, with all its joy, and struggle, and pain, and wonder. But someday, I will finally be home, where I really belong.
Dave. Dark Matter. This life here, for a brief while. Jesus - God with us.
Amazing. All of it.