Sunday, December 30, 2007

Following Your Star

I have no gold nor fragrant oil
Sealed in an alabaster jar;
I have never set foot on desert soil,
But, still, I'm following Your star.

My journey does not end at Your manger;
For my journey began at Your Cross.
It's a walk of faith through lands of danger
With parted waters to get across.

Its purpose is not the journey's end;
For You has already taken me that far.
The release of things on which I depend
Is why I'm following Your star.

Rip the earthly crutches from my hands;
Tear, off the walls, every safety bar.
Hasten my journey through these lands
To when I finish following Your star.

Hasten the day when I know completely
What a powerful God You are.
Hasten the day when I know completely
What a loving God You are.
Hasten the day when I know completely
What a trustworthy God You are.
Hasten my journey through these lands
To when I finish following Your star.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Flying With Susan

Nineteen years ago today, Susan's Learjet crashed.

Since our first electrical circuits class together, Susan and I had been lab and project partners throughout our years in engineering school at the University of South Carolina. I convinced her to take the ROTC flight class with me for our senior elective and Susan fell in love with flying. She went on to get her multiengine certificate and Learjet qualification. Shortly after she applied to be a NASA astronaut-candidate, her plane went down.

My phone conversation with her mom, after her crash, was the toughest conversation I have ever had in my entire life. I didn't think I had that much tears. Between her mom and me, we could have flooded the entire state of Texas during that call.

But that phone call was nothing compared to evening that I received the package of Susan's things from her mom. That night, it finally sunk in. I would never see Susan again. For a whole year, I cried every night. Then, my heart went numb and stayed numb for a very long time. Even today, there's a piece of my heart that, I don't think, I will ever get back.

I googled Susan again, today. The story of her crash is still lingering in cyberspace:

The 1988 Mexico Learjet 24 crash

A Lear 24B, N234CM, departed Memphis International Airport on December 16, 1988, heading for Addison, Texas with two crew aboard, including NASA astronaut-candidate Susan Reynolds. After it flew past its destination, the aircraft was intercepted by an Air Force T-38 Talon from the 560th Flying Training Squadron at Randolph AFB, but the pilot was unable to contact the crew. He reported that the cockpit windows appeared to have frost on the inside. The Lear entered Mexican airspace. After exhausting its fuel supply, it entered a spin and crashed near Cuatro CiƩnegas in the northern state of Coahuila. The two pilots were killed.

To the news reporters, Susan was a Summa Cum Laude student, an engineer, a pilot, an astronaut candidate. But to me, Susan was the girl that changed my life and taught me to dream BIG. Although I had convinced her to take the flight class with me, Susan had been taking me flying long before that.

She flashes you a wicked smile,
Dares you to catch her if you can,
And lets out an infectious laugh
As she spreads out her full wing span.

With a dash and a leap, she soars
Beyond the stratosphere
Next thing you know, she's taking you
To where miracles appear.

Her wings will never be clipped
Her spirit will forever fly.
Whenever you're stuck here on the ground
You'd look for her in the sky.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Let us speak in present tense.

Let us speak in present tense
And leave behind the past:
No blame and no regret,
No recounting who spoke last.

Let us speak in present tense
For the future can wait:
No promise nor expectation,
No agreement to negotiate.

Let us speak in present tense,
Just about me and you.
Let us use words of encouragement
That is long overdue.

Let us speak in present tense.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

How did I grow too old to dance in the rain?

This afternoon, heaven suddenly opened up and poured down rain, sending pedestrians scrambling for cover. I slipped into a nearby coffee shop and found a table by the window. As I slowly took each sip, I stared out, waiting for the rain to stop.

Outside, among the rushing crowd, a little girl, with her eyes closed, face lifted skyward, and arms extended, swirled around and around taking in the sensation of the falling water drops upon her face. When she stopped spinning, she started to hop from puddle to puddle, laughing and giggling as frustrated shoppers rushed pass her.

Suddenly, her mother, with tote bags on her arm, ran up, grabbed the little girl by her hand, and took her away, scolding the little girl as they hurried pass the coffee shop window.

How did I grow too old
To dance in the rain?
When did life rob me
Of that pleasure?

Why did music stop
Running through my vein?
When did I stop hearing
Every measure?

How did I become blind
To life's simple joys?
When did thunderclouds
Stop smiles from shining?

Why am I too refined
To run like little boys?
When did I aged so
From my own whining?