Lots of great guesses yesterday as to where I was — and many of them buzzed the tower.
Indeed, we spent the day at NASA — the Kennedy Space Center. But it was far from just a day. It was extraordinary in every way.
Had I dreamed up and then choreographed the perfect day, I couldn’t have done any better than this.
We were NASA guests on a VIP tour — a tour so rare that several of the NASA employees who went along for the ride had never had this opportunity in their two decades of employment with the KSC. Wow.
And the way it happened. So effortless. Pure magic and pixie dust.
A few weeks back, Laura Scott from the KSC found my blog and subscribed. It was a series of coincidences — I call them “God-incidences” — all happening in perfect sequence, that brought us to yesterday.
Laura is a long-time member of Better Investing, the company where my writing career began two decades ago and where I still work as a contract writer/editor. My coworkers and the members of Better Investing are like family to me. Someone posted my recent diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer on a listserv. Laura saw it.
She and members of her team at the KSC posted a beautiful, uplifting comment to my blog. I was thrilled. So thrilled that I incorporated the message and a beautiful out-of-this-world picture into my next blog post. (See post, 2/9/2011.)
Laura and I started chatting online and felt a mutual connection. “I’ll be just a little south of you in early March,” I told her. “Maybe we could drive up to the KSC. I’d love to meet you.”
One thing led to another and my story, my blog, made its way up the flagpole of NASA communications. I was invited to tour the KSC as a VIP. We’d have our own special bus. A 12-seater. I was welcome to invite guests.
It all came together like clockwork. I invited my sisters, of course, and then it hit me. I have two friends, Helene and Bert Rabinowitz, who winter in the West Palm area. And, my close friend from college, Lisa Stark Watson, her husband, Greg, and son, Zachary, live near Ft. Lauderdale. I extended the invitation. Everyone was able to rearrange schedules and drive up on the morning of March 9. Synchronicity.
What we were going to have the opportunity to see had already knocked the wind out of me. The Space Station Processing Facility. The Orbiter Processing Facility, where we stood beneath the Shuttle Atlantis. The Vehicle Assembly Building, where we viewed the Shuttle Endeavor and where the latest Transformers movie — due out this summer — was filmed. Shuttle Launch Pad 39A, where Apollo 11 blasted off for the Moon more than four decades ago, and from which the Discovery Shuttle had launched mere days before. A tour led by Debra Kral of NASA, whose knowledge and enthusiasm was not only fascinating, but mind-blowing.
But then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it did.
A couple of days before our tour, I got word that the Shuttle Discovery had been scheduled to land March 9. The date had been in flux; Discovery was originally supposed to land a few days earlier.
I couldn’t believe it. Not only would we have the privilege of seeing the most complex, miraculous inner workings of the KSC and the entire, decades-long space program, but we were going to see history in the making — the final landing of the Shuttle Discovery.
The weather was perfect as we turned our eyes skyward, waiting for the Sonic Boom, and then the emergence of the Discovery. There it was, high above the clouds, gently gliding toward Planet Earth like a pure white dove.
Sometimes, no matter how big your imagination, how far-reaching, there are things that happen in this world that come together with such precision, such perfect timing, that they can only be explained as God’s fingerprint, part of His amazing handiwork. Moments when you know to the depth of your soul that the sky is not the limit.
Yesterday was filled with those moments.
Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson