“To infinity and beyond!” is the motto for Buzz Lightyear, the astronaut from the Toy Story movies. After binge watching various tributes to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, I was thinking, that should be the motto of us all.
At the end of 1903, the Wright brothers successfully flew a plane for the first time. Within 66 years, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the surface of the moon. Flying fascinates me. I can’t say that I understand all the physics or mechanics of it, but I love learning about it. Having been born just 2 short years after the moon landing, flying anywhere is something that I’ve always known. For those who lived during President Kennedy’s space challenge decade, the various programs about the space race must seem like old history. However, for me, each special presented the events from a different perspective that was both educational and surprising.
Perhaps because it’s not common place anymore, especially in the media, it stands out that every time an astronaut was giving a message from space, the phrase, “God bless…” was used. In the recounting the Apollo 8 mission, which occurred over Christmas of 1968, I was astonished to learn astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders had read from the first book of Genesis. I could understand if they read some of the story of the Nutcracker or ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, but it seemed that the men understood the deeper significance of the moment. They knew they would be on television and that most people would be watching the broadcast on Christmas eve. In an age where science presumes to trump religion, it’s nice to know that these very educated men, who actually escaped the bonds of gravity during their lunar orbit mission, took their role seriously and brought meaning to their work.
I mostly fly when I’m going on vacation. During my first major trips, I would pray to God that if it was my time, could I have my vacation first before He called me home. Inevitably I would be in mid-flight when I’d start to think about where I was: in a large sealed tin can, being hurled at incredible speed high above most flying birds and even the clouds, to a destination very far away. “Now is not the time to think like that,” I would chastise myself. While flying is one of the safest modes of transportation, when it fails, it does so spectacularly. It’s hard not to think about what would happen after that. I used to bemoan that if I did pass away, I wouldn’t be able to get to this place or that location on my travel bucket list. I then realized that God has created everything. How can God deny His daughter a look around the world He created? Then I thought, “Why stop at places on the Earth? Why not ask God to see the whole universe?” I can almost imagine God taking me to Saturn for an up-close look at the rings, explaining how they were created and why. Perhaps He’ll take me to His favorite vantage point to look at what we call the Milky Way.
Some folks may have a bit of fear they will be bored when they pass from this life, but with an unknown number of other galaxies out there, I don’t know if eternity will be enough time to see them all. Buzz Lightyear may be correct in his theology: To infinity and beyond, indeed!