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Archive for the month “August, 2015”

Forty Years

A group of us were standing in a lobby area of our old high school.  The guide told us that we are standing where the old tunnel used to be.  I remember the tunnel.  It was a crossing place between the gym and the high school.  It was something that was unique in our school as it made our journey to the gym direct and convenient.  Of course I’m thinking back forty years ago and it wasn’t just the tunnel that changed.  The school was so renovated that it was hard to believe that it was the same school we attended.  The tour of the high school was actually the third leg of our reunion time.  It was tied to a 5K run/walk which focused on the old neighborhoods around the school.  Later there would be the main event that evening and a goodbye breakfast the next morning.  Noted in that run/walk were the actual houses where some of our classmates lived at the time we were in school together.

I had planned to do the run/walk that morning but my body was telling me no.  After participating in an 18 hole reunion golf scramble the day before and attending the casual get together that night I was feeling pretty sore.  However, I did meet up with everyone for the tour and was glad I did.  Of all of the events, the tour was the most reflective and mind boggling.  While the new rooms for learning were amazing a part of me wondered “where have they taken my old school?”  They say that some things remain the same but we were having a hard time finding any.  Today’s students have personal computers and i-phones that they use to text friends.  They have ways of communicating that we never did.  The only two places in the school that looked somewhat familiar was the auditorium and the library.  While the auditorium seemed exactly the same, the library did have a special computer room that would have been next century stuff for our class.  Come to think of it that is exactly what it is.  The old typing room down the hall, (a room of multiple typewriters), where I miraculously learned to type from Mrs. Frakes, is long since gone and only lives in the museums of our minds.

My old school looks completely different

My old school looks completely different

I’ve taken a full turn on these class reunion gatherings.  I attended my first at the 25 year celebration.  I guess the first few I figured would be a can you top this thing.  I envisioned comments like “I’m the president of a bank!”  “What are you doing?”  Happily I found that this was not the case.  Maybe in the earlier ones it was but by the 25th everyone seemed to enjoy seeing each other.  I met new friends that were not my friends in high school.  Most people definitely mature and realize that they are not the center of the world.  The last couple of reunions I have been on the reunion planning committee.  I remember back in the day we would get a letter in the mail telling us about the reunion plans.  These days that is replaced by contacting people on Facebook and having them spread the word also.  We have become a part of the new technology world too.

The committee talked about different venues for the main event and eventually settled for a place downtown named Shakespears.  We found out later that Shakespears wouldn’t let us bring a DJ in as we have had in previous reunions, but it didn’t seem to matter.  It seemed that all everyone really wanted was a big room where they could catch up with their old friends.  What was really gratifying was the heartfelt thanks from so many of our classmates as to the great job the committee did.  It left me with a lesson learned that whatever we are doing it is great to feel appreciated. On the other hand if I participate in something I want to be one of those people who show their gratitude to the organizers.

Two things happened when I first arrived at Shakespears.  After parking the car which wasn’t an easy adventure because of the local rib fest celebration, a classmate spotted me in the parking lot and wondered where we go in.  There were a couple of doors and I wasn’t sure either.  She had a bunch of flowers to carry in and the timing was just right where myself and another classmate were able to carry them for her.  The other thing I noticed as I found the area where we were meeting, was a board with classmates pictures. I wondered if my picture was up there, (one of the few representing many), as I walked up for a closer look.  It turned out that this board had the 26 members of our class who were not with us anymore.  My emotions went from hoping to see my picture to glad it wasn’t there and that I’m still here to celebrate.  I was struck by a comment from another classmate as we talked about how we would be in our 60’s for the next reunion.  “Hopefully we will still be here”, was her comment, “you never know.”  Her comment startled me for a second but I knew she was right.  Almost assuredly there will be less living members of our class for the next reunion

Lewis1975

Just like the old school has changed in appearance me and my fellow classmates  have changed too.  We are more wrinkled and grayer haired (if we have hair at all).  Most of us are heavier than we used to be. Still I recognized almost all of the people I knew.  Oh they may have looked a bit different but their basic recognizable qualities and mannerisms were the same. Forty years of life puts some wear and tear on our bodies for sure.

Everyone seems to have their own sense of importance as far as reunions go.  There are people who wouldn’t walk across the street to attend one and others who make the trip from as far away as California. The ones who invariably come are treated to memories, old friendships, new friendships, and a chance to re-live how things used to be.  Instead of the competition we felt in high school, there is now a closeness as we reflect on the same experiences that we shared.

2015

Forty years, it went by so quickly.  A former classmate mentioned to me last year about how you turn around and you are 50.  Seeing all of my old classmates was like going to a wedding or a funeral.  Invariably I started feeling older and more vulnerable.  Events that take me back in time have a way of making me reflect.  Like the old high school I have been through many changes. I have experienced love, hurt, elation, depression, victory, defeat, loss, and gain. My fellow classmates have lived through their own highs and lows and most have weathered the storm. Symbolically we have passed through the tunnel from youth to older age and there is no going back.  Through it all we shake our heads as we wonder how we ever survived without all of the technology gadgets modern kids can’t do without.

We probably need a tunnel to connect how we grew up with how kids grow up today.  Unfortunately everything has changed and a tunnel doesn’t exist anymore.  One thing that I am forever thankful for was at age 16 before my junior year I gave my heart to Jesus. It was the best decision I have ever made! Like the tunnel that connected the main building to the gym, I found the path that connected me with God. I have fallen multiple times since but he is faithful and has picked me up frequently along the way.

I’m looking forward to a bigger reunion one day where I will be reunited with many loved ones, but in particular my parents and my daughter.  I’m sure there are loved ones you miss too and long to see again someday.  Until then we are to keep the faith and do what he has called us to do.  Around us I see the world changing like my old high school. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I take great comfort in that fact!

Lewis reflecting class reunion                                 Reflecting on the best reunion ever!

A Different View

Last month marked the anniversary of the first man on the moon.  I remember July 20, 1969.  I was listening to the Detroit Tigers baseball game when suddenly the broadcast was interrupted by breaking news.  At the time I didn’t like the fact that they were interrupting my game to go live to the moon landing.  I can see that my point of view has changed from when I was 12 as far as what was important.  In a way I think some of the astronauts point of view changed too.

I think it is the most amazing picture I have ever seen.  I know that’s a big statement but when you think about the significance of the whole picture it is hard to disagree.  It is pictures of the earth taken by the astronauts as they are on the moon or flying over the moon.

The number of people that have seen this amazing view is very small.  Many of them have made comments about this fantastic view and the aura of how they felt when they were seeing.this remarkable spectacle!

Image result for view of the earth

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”

— Neil Armstrong, Apollo Astronaut

“As we got further and further away, it [the Earth] diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man.”

— James B. Irwin, Apollo Astronaut

Image result for astronaut's view of the earth

“The view of the Earth from the Moon fascinated me — a small disk, 240,000 miles away. . . . Raging nationalistic interests, famines, wars, pestilence don’t show from that distance.”

— Frank Borman, Commander of Apollo 8

“I think the one overwhelming emotion that we had was when we saw the earth rising in the distance over the lunar landscape . . . . It makes us realize that we all do exist on one small globe. For from 230,000 miles away it really is a small planet.”

— Frank Borman, Commander of Apollo 8

Apollo 11 view of a crescent Earth

“The world itself looks cleaner and so much more beautiful. Maybe we can make it that way—the way God intended it to be—by giving everybody that new perspective from out in space.”

— Roger B Chaffee, NASA Astronaut

“Oddly enough the overriding sensation I got looking at the earth was, my god that little thing is so fragile out there.”

— Mike Collins, Apollo 11 Astronaut

“For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line. It was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light—our atmosphere. Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance.”

— Ulf Merbold, ESA Astronaut

“Suddenly, from behind the rim of the Moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth . . . home.”

— Edgar Mitchell, Apollo Astronaut

“Now I know why I’m here. Not for a closer look at the moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth.”

— Alfred Worden, Apollo Astronaut

Image result for view of the earth

“Looking outward to the blackness of space, sprinkled with the glory of a universe of lights, I saw majesty—but no welcome. Below was a welcoming planet. There, contained in the thin, moving, incredibly fragile shell of the biosphere is everything that is dear to you, all the human drama and comedy. That’s where life is; that’s were all the good stuff is.”

— Loren Acton, Physicist and Space Shuttle Astronaut

“It’s beyond imagination until you actually get up and see it and experience it and feel it.”

— Willie McCool, Space Shuttle Astronaut

“To fly in space is to see the reality of Earth, alone. The experience changed my life and my attitude toward life itself. I am one of the lucky ones.”

— Roberta Bondar, Neurologist and Space Shuttle Astronaut

“There is perhaps no better a demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.”

— Carl Sagan, Astronomer

Image result for view of the earth

“Look again at that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

— Carl Sagan, Astronomer

“We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the earth.”

— William Anders, Apollo Astronaut

We all get so wrapped up in our tiny little world and it is so easy to do.  Like I was with my baseball game at the age of twelve we get tunnel vision on things that are unimportant. Maybe it is time that we get interrupted in our normal thinking!  Taking a trip to the moon would surely do us all good.  Looking back at the earth and realizing that it is small in comparison to the vast universe.  Realizing the beauty of all creation that God has so majestically formed.  With all of the universe and space out there it has to be a mind boggling experience seeing the earth (the most beautiful circle) and knowing that it is home to everything dear!  It surely would take our mind off of our individual problems as we see the big picture of life and our world.  Surely the picture would be forever in our minds and hearts as long as we lived!

3When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
5You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.”

Psalms (8:3-5)

Image result for astronauts view of the earth and the stars

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