A recent episode of the CBS News program 60 Minutes included a feature on the Voyager space probes. The two probes were launched in 1977 with a primary mission expected to last four years. Forty years later, and well beyond their expected mission lives, both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 continue operating.
The story featured a photograph of Earth taken by Voyager 1 that has become known as “Pale Blue Dot”. At some 3.7 billion miles away, our home is nothing more than a tiny speck dangling in the sunlight reflected on the camera’s lens. Seeing this image made me feel very small and insignificant.
“Pale Blue Dot” taken by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990. Everything we know is at the tip of that arrow. Photo credit: NASA Images
Surely, my presence on the dot does not matter.
As the program continued, the reason for my feeling small and insignificant became clear. “On the dot” and “matter” cannot be separated. Everyone I love currently resides on the blue dot or did at some point in time. For my life to have a chance at being meaningful, I must be with the ones I love, sharing and experiencing together.
The only impact that can resonate 3.7 billion miles away from our home is the one we create together. The quality and quantity of each individual’s contribution summed across time. I have influence on this collective legacy and so do you. As a sum of these parts, maybe we can all continue well beyond our initial expected mission lives.
Love, in all of its intangibility, is a thing of beauty and mystery. When the connection between two people is so powerful it provides inspiration to others, love is a positive force beyond explanation. On August 5th of last year, I had the privilege to witness a moment of this mysterious beauty when two of my cherished friends were married.
To honor the first wedding anniversary of this very special couple, I share the poem composed to celebrate their marriage. The word composed is used deliberately, for this poem was not written by me. I merely placed words together borne out of the inspiration these two provide to anyone fortunate enough to know them.
To Rachel and Curtis, thank you for the inspiration. My celebration of you, your extraordinary bond and the blessing of having you as my family continues each day. Your love is woven into who I am.
I have shared a number of posts extolling the love and support received from family and friends. It is a blessing to have such an amazing group who cares for me. However, my greatest source of strength and true foundation is at home. My wife is not one for the spotlight and there have only been restrained mentions of her in the writing shared here. But with this post, I exceed the recommended maximum wattage and let the spotlight shine.
We were out for a walk one Sunday evening late last summer. No one else was around as we strolled along the trail, making it feel as if the park belonged only to us. The sky was a cloudless crystal clear blue so brilliant it looked artificial. All the vibrant colors of nature sizzled brightly under that sapphire canopy as if my vision had an augmented ability. The focus of this heightened clarity turned toward my wife and an intense recognition of how fortunate I am to have her washed over me.
There was no magic raining down from the blue of the sky that evening. The magic came from the person at my side. Care to guess her eye color?
Not long ago I shared a poem inspired by the remarkable 2016 concert featuring Amos Lee along with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (Feeling The Photons). The evening was a glorious experience and one which did not cease at the end of the performance. In fact, the experience continues to this day for me.
My wife and I were bidding farewell to the friends who had joined us when a mystical moment occurred. I turned to my friend Rachel and said, “I hope you had a good time.” Her response paired with a smile to create something extraordinary. As I looked at her, everything around us fractured and all background crumbled away from view. There was nothing but her and, most prominently, the smile. One of the most calm, content feelings I have known washed over me. The image remains vivid in my mind, yet words to describe the experience are hard to find. This is the best I can do to convey what occurred to cap off an evening deeply etched in my memory.