We all remember the star of the show, their name in lights, the celebration of their accomplishments. But it is important to remember that rarely does one ascend to the top of the rungs without the valuable support of those holding the ladder itself. Successes do not occur in a vacuum and we all need a little help every once in a while. And we will all be called upon to BE that help. Do not take this responsibility lightly. Let’s take a minute to consider Michael Collins.
Who is that you ask? Let me give you a hint. Do the names Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin mean anything to you? Of course, they do. They were the first two men to walk on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 - 3 Man Mission. Three men, you say? Yes, because while Neil and Buzz are household names, they would have been unable to complete this incredible feat without the help of Michael Collins. It was Michael who stayed on board and circled the spacecraft around the moon during the 21 + hours his fellow astronauts were making history.
This was not his first space mission. In fact, he was the pilot during Gemini 10 that circled the earth with the purpose to conduct docking tests. During that mission, Michael made two spacewalks, spent over an hour outside the ship, and became the first person to meet another craft in orbit. He was commissioned specifically for his skills and experience to man the module for the Apollo 11 trip. During his day flying solo around the moon, there were 48 minutes each orbit where he was out of contact completely with Earth and utterly all alone in the universe. While this could certainly make some of us feel extremely isolated, he is quoted as saying he never felt lonely. This is a quote from his autobiography. “This venture has been structured for three men, and I consider my third to be as necessary as either of the other two.” It is reported that he felt an extreme sense of “awareness, anticipation, satisfaction and confidence”.
What a GREAT lesson for each of us today. For certainly we will be called upon to work behind the scenes. Maybe it is the role of a parent. Or a spouse. Maybe it is a work assignment. A friend may need your help. Maybe you volunteer for an organization or are part of a church body. It doesn’t really matter the scope of the project. We can’t all orbit the moon, but we CAN all be a part of something larger than ourselves. And when you are ‘commissioned’ to lend your hand and your heart, take the words of Michael Collins seriously. Go into the project with an awareness of the special skills only you possess. Anticipate the goodness of the goal. Feel satisfaction in a job well done. Walk away with confidence that you were part of something great.
I do wish for each of you the feeling of rising to the top and accomplishing a personal goal. If/when that happens, please recognize the contribution of those around you to make this happen. In the meantime, please understand everyone cannot be the one to walk on the moon. It takes dedication and a willingness to be part of a team to achieve the better good.
I encourage each of you to do your very best at whatever task you are given in this life. Be proud of your contributions, but keep vanity at bay. Be supportive. Be kind. Be gentle in spirit. And during those moments when you feel all alone in the process and wonder if anyone will ever even remember your name, please know that HE will and you will have the personal satisfaction of a job well done. It doesn’t get much better than that.
And as always...
Hope With Abandon!