When I was 7 years old the Voyager probe was launched into the solar system. When I was 8 years old, I wrote NASA asking to know more about the planets, the solar system and Voyager. I received, what seemed to an 8-year-old, as a HUGE manila envelope in the mail with photos that were available from the planets and the mission. At 9 years old, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released. I read both the novel and saw the movie. Voyager was part of that movie. It had made it beyond the Solar System, learned all it could learn, and came back to Earth ready to share a new version of life. I was 10 years old when Voyager sent back its up-close photos of Saturn. I was beyond hooked.
I can track major points of my life, major points of awareness, and times of being completely overwhelmed all to the exploration of Space and the NASA program. At one point in my life, I tried to work for NASA in some capacity. That did not to pan out. The awe that it instills remains.
There is a quality of reality that emanates from the core mission of exploration. That it is not only a group effort, but an effort to know more about ourselves as much as it is to know about the external Universe. There is a willingness to work across political borders and languages to complete a task, to combine resources and to learn.
Astronauts speak of spiritual experiences while in the wonder of Space. “To look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible,” are words spoken by John Glenn after returning from space at the age of 77. Jake Garn, who flew on Discovery in 1985 says, "It's almost impossible to explain to people what it's like to look back (toward Earth) and see the entire planet." Garn talks about how going to space was a “wake-up call” to let go of petty concerns.
I have not been to space, but I can relate to the feeling of the more. So much more. It is often hard to imagine that we are part of something more from the perspective of daily life. We listen to spiritual leaders, seekers, and follow our own spirituality to a place which tells us that we are part of something greater, that we are part of the Universe in a way that is hard to perceive from our human lives. Yet, we are at a point in our combined human experience that Voyager has left the solar system. Today, the world listened to SOUNDS, video and photos of Mars sent to Earth from the recently land Perseverance Rover. We have worked together to achieve this technological wonder, that also offers a glimpse of the greater, the grander, the realities of the Universe.
In exploration we explore ourselves: Universe: God. In this Unity we recognize the God in EVERYTHING. We recognize God AS EVERYTHING. We find out just how connected we are. We become Voyager. Exploring, learning, and bringing all that knowledge, wisdom, and awe back to a little blue planet inspiring new life, a new perspective where faith in our connectedness sets aside petty concerns for the awareness that we are the Universe, and we are capable of being that for each other.