“To the Moon and Back” (Apollo 13)-A A +A
Saturday, August 24, 2013
WE ARE, all of us, astronauts dreaming of the moon…
Possible entry from an astronaut’s diary:
My dearest dream was to walk on the surface of the moon. I would bring honor to my country, make my family proud, and finally say to myself, “I made it!”
But the vessel that was to bring me to my dream lost its power.
It was a minor glitch in the making of the machine, a mistake made long before I even embarked on my journey to the moon, a mistake that endangered lives–mine and those who were journeying with me.
However, as I and my companions hung between the earth and the moon, the question of who did what, and what we did wrong or who was to blame no longer mattered.
We had to make a choice, between the earth and the moon.
Right before our eyes, through the little windows of our tiny ship, passed the face of the moon.
There it was, every astronaut’s lifetime dream. How beautiful it looked–a work of art in light and shadow, depths of craters and surface patterns in a perfect crescent against the darkness of space.
We were silent before the grandeur of this dream, so close we could almost touch it through the glass; forever stamped within the memory of our hearts this unclaimed moon, this shifting dream.
Soon, sooner than we thought or wanted, the distance between the moon and our ship grew and all we had left were hands empty of the moon’s soil, and a moon untouched.
Now, with death as our companion, our dearest dream was transformed, taking on the half-moon shape of the green and blue earth, a desperate goal now made more precious from this distance.
As we wandered in the darkness of that vast infinity, we knew that the innocent space which had cradled our lifetime journey could take away that which mattered the most, more than the moon, more than walking on the surface of a planet that was not earth, more than honor, and more than pride–this journey to our dreams could take away the very reason for our dreaming.
Thus, we fought to survive, because we saw that in the end, after all is said and done, fulfillment is found beyond our dream, within the hearts of the people who had made this journey possible.
We needed to keep ourselves alive not just for ourselves but also for those whose lives were connected to ours, all those hearts beating both in fear and hope for us, with us.
Now that I am back home on this sweet, sweet earth, I sometimes look at the moon.
I may not have walked on its surface, not held moon-soil in my hands, yet the memory of its beauty will always bless my nights.
If not for that untouched dream, if not for that journey into the dark, I would not have seen what I have seen, have what I have, and be where and who I am now.
From time to time, it calls to me–my untouched dream; and in the darkness of night, I reach out to that bright orb in the sky.
Every time I do this, I know–that I hold the moon in my hand, always.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 24, 2013.