stars

Star Gazers: Pondering God’s Blueprint

Astronomy is interesting to me, but not fascinating.  I like to visit planetariums, and listen to the presentations, but I have never wanted to spend a lot of time looking through telescopes in the backyard.  I have visited the Macdonald Observatory in West Texas several times, but those are huge telescopes.

                Star Trek however was totally fascinating to me.  I have seen every episode of the original series and still occasionally enjoy watching a rerun.  I loved the concepts that Gene Roddenberry challenged the viewer with:  The transporter, alien life forms, and parallel universes.  Most of all the idea of warp speed intrigued me.  To be able to travel many times the speed of light still sounds impossible to me.

                Even though they could travel up to warp nine, that is nine times faster than the speed of light, the Enterprise never left our own galaxy.  The Milky Way Galaxy alone would take years to travel through at the speed of light.  As for reaching another galaxy, the distance is thought to be too great for humans to accomplish, even traveling at a high warp speed.

                The vastness of space is mind boggling: Infinite is the word.  I remember when I was about ten asking Dad what infinity was.  “It just goes on and on and never ends,” he said.

                At the McDonald Observatory, visitors are allowed to peer through about a half dozen rather large telescopes.  The Visitors center also shows short movie presentations.  On our last visit there was a brief film that tried to give us an idea of infinity.  The movie was obviously a low budget production, but it sure intrigued me. 

                If you take a square meter, and expand to ten square meters, and then to 100 square meters, and on to 1000 square meters, that would be 10 to the third power ( ).  If you or I represent that small one square meter, then the film showed just how small we would be from a thousand kilometers up in space.  The moon is less than 400,000 kilometers away.  Pictures of the earth from the moon show our planet as small from that distance.  Of course, the earth would not be visible from , or 10,000,000,000 billion kilometers away.  Astronomers guess the universe to be about  kilometers in distance from the earth.  The point is, which we all know, was that the universe goes a long way out, indefinitely.  No big news flash there.  But here is what interested me.

                The film stopped at the outer reaches of the known universe, and then slowly backed up.   Through many, many far away galaxies, then traversing lots of vast voids of space, re-entered the Milky Way Galaxy, eventually to our own solar system and back to earth.  Then descended from the higher part of our atmosphere down to the surface of earth where that one person is resting on a blanket in a city park.  Back to square one, or the square meter we began from.

                Then the film takes you on a journey to go smaller, that is into the human body;  Through the organs, and into the cells.  You descend into mitochondria and into the cellular level.  With the electron microscope we continue getting smaller and smaller, actually into the electrons and protons.  I had cell biology in college, and I had microbiology.  I guess what fascinated me was scientists can now go back to .  Not quite as far as going to reach the outer expanse of space, but  is getting pretty small.  I’ll bet in time it gets smaller.  Almost like a universe within each one of us.      

                At first I felt small and insignificant.  However, as I pondered the reality that there is life at all levels within me, just like throughout the universe, I then felt a sense of purpose within God’s realm.   Others may feel the immensity of the universe makes them doubt there is a Creator.  On the contrary, that is opposite of what I felt.  I feel God’s blueprint in creation.      

               

Dark Waters

          The silhouette of a tree line could be discerned if you looked closely.  A few electric lights here and there in the distance, otherwise mostly dark.  No moon this night.  I knew what the landscape looked like in daylight so I pretty much knew what was on the other side of the lake.  The distance was somewhere between a kilometer and a mile in order to cross over.  I had done the swim during the day but for some reason it is a little more intimidating at night.

           It was about 5 a.m. when I entered the dark water.  I always do so with hesitation because those first few chilly steps always jolt me.  Fortunately, not too bad.  The older I get, the less I like cold.  The temperature of the water would be fine once I got kicking.  I did not see any boats, nor could I hear any.  That is my biggest fear, a fishing boat scooting across the water anxious to get to where it needs to be.  They could accidentally be upon me before they could react soon enough.  Hopefully if I hear them coming I can take evasive action appropriately.  But the darkness.  There is something about dark water that unsettles me, especially the ocean.  If I go scuba diving on a boat out into the ocean at night with a group I always want to be the first off the boat after we gear up.  It gives me some sort of rush:  that momentary feeling of dropping into the dark, the unknown.  Of course I wouldn’t do if I thought it was unsafe.  If I hear of any sharks are in the area then I’m not so gung-ho.  I my swim in the ocean at night alone, but if I’m with a boat, then I choose not to be alone. 

           My wife is annoyed when I choose to swim at night, especially when I’m alone.  She detests me swimming in the ocean at night.  Nevertheless, with some reluctance, she graciously accepts my need to do endeavors such as swimming across the lake at night.  The waves were not bad at all, only occasionally slapping me in the face when I was taking my breath in.  For the most part the swim was uneventful, actually enjoyable.  With no moon it was quite dark and a little hard to determine how far it was to the opposite shore.  The swim took less than 30 minutes.  

           My running shoes were waiting for me as I had deposited them prior to driving to my starting point of the swim.  The jog back to my car was enjoyable as I watched for shooting stars.  I spotted a faint one and then a few minutes later a very bright one.

            The 30 minute drive home with reflective music and the sun creeping on the horizon kept my morning on a positive note.  I love to eat a breakfast when I’m hungry.  My wife made me a nice breakfast and my day was just getting started.  I love the sensation of being alive, especially for one in his late 50’s and his physical abilities slowly diminishing.  In the meantime I will enjoy life’s gifts.  Simple things like a morning swim and watching for shooting stars is an adventure to me.  I think each of can choose to make life an adventure wherever and whatever circumstances we are in. 

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