Happy International Day of Peace or Why I Got Tears When I Saw the Space Shuttle

I was making the daily route around the park with my daughter this morning. She was sleeping and I was listening to Arvo Part. A woman came running out of her house laughing, clapping, and shouting, “Look up! Look up! It’s here!”

I looked up at the treeline and saw a low-flying plane holding space shuttle Endeavour.  It was so close! There was no time to get the camera or the phone. I will just have to hold the image in my mind. Everyone in the park started to clap and smile.

As I continued my walk, thinking about the amazing thing I had just witnessed, I realized I was getting emotional. Tears were coming to my eyes.

Before space exploration, a majority of the world’s scientists were focused on the science of warfare (or so Carl Sagan said in the first episode of Cosmos…been watching that lately.) Think about that – our amazing human minds focused and driven to come up with different ways for us to annihilate one another. Space exploration opened a door. We, as a species, were able to shift our imagination and efforts to the Universe. It allowed us to not only acknowledge but witness that we are part of something bigger – we are part of something so much bigger than our wars and daily conflicts.

I can only imagine what a relief it must have been for those first scientists who were able to really work on going into space. What a relief and inspiration to work on something that was not designed for killing or separating us on the planet. How liberating to be given the opportunity to make a dream like that come true.

So that shuttle, to me, on International Peace Day ended up being a symbol of our potential as human beings. Our potential to humbly, joyfully ask questions and appreciate the voyage on the way to the answers. The amazing potential we hold to both destroy and create. The amazing potential we have to inspire each other.

I mean, really think about it: We can send people into outer space. There is a machine on Mars right now taking photographs.

Human beings, we are amazing creatures. Let’s keep our feet on the ground as we keep our eyes to the sky. Let’s put down our arms and keep making magical things together.

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