As we should all know by now, Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon, died in August. He was 82. And from all accounts that I have read he was a good man who lived his life quite modestly after doing something that changed, maybe connected the entire world, if only for a little while.
For this Blog entry I literrally scoured the internet and read about a dozen obits on this man.
I did this because when he died, there was one graph in one of the many, many tributes to him that hit me on such an emotional level.
A feeling that I still have not been able to shake. And I believe it is worth reprinting and discussing and sharing with the “blogasphere” why it touched me so.
I finally found it at the end of a piece written on Aug. 26 in USA Today.
Here it is:
For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request,” his family said in a Saturday statement. “Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
Oh man, it happened again! I got that lump in my throat re-reading this.
Because the idea, the visual this presents to me is so simple, yet so so so grandiose.
One thing is, I have always seen the face of the man in the moon. And so many times, since I was a child, I remember asking others if they see a face in the moon. And, not everyone does. I could never wrap my head around that.
The other thing is this.
There is one moon, billions maybe zillions of people in this world, again just one moon. OK, we see it at different times of the night. There is one Big Dipper, one Little Dipper, one of each unique, brilliant star in each of its little own endlessly dark piece of the sky. (Please stay with me here)
I have dear friends and family in many parts of this country. Sometimes I wonder as I look up at the sky at night and take in the beauty and the wonderment of the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, the moon, that one little super shiny star, that I think is a planet, that sets just to the bottom right of the moon… I wonder sometimes, are any of my dear, long-lost friends or family in other parts of this country looking at that part of the sky at that very same moment. And we just recently had that beautiful, magical Harvest Moon display, and I wondered the same thing. Is anyone out there looking at it and taking in all of its magic at the same time I am.
And if they were would we not be connected in that very moment?
When I was 11 years old, I met my biological father for the first time. Before meeting him I never even knew his name, never even knew he existed. Further, I never even knew that I was not who I had long believed I was. It was– and still is– quite complicated and hard to work through.
The reason I bring this up, is this – I remember in the months and couple of years afterward– after meeting this man, this stranger, this man who added so much confusion, pain to an already tumultuous existence–looking up at the sky sometimes and wondering if he was looking at the same part of the evening sky and thinking of me. I particularly recall one New Year’s Eve, shortly after meeting him, when the town was doing fireworks and fire crackers right at Midnight, and I went outside…There were people and noise makers everywhere, noises from all parts of town, I felt so alone. And I wondered where he was and if he was looking up at the night sky too.
I wondered in my young mind, if before he met me did he ever look up at that vast sky and wonder where I was. Did he wonder, was his child also looking up at the sky, the moon, the man in the moon? Did she see the man in the moon even?
Did he see the man in the moon?
Did we share that?
Did he care?
I’ll never know any of these answers. And the thought of this, me as a confused and sad child not knowing who she really is or whether or not it even matters to anyone, who she really is, makes me so sad.
So now as an adult, now that I have control over my life, and a loose handle on my emotions, I take these same moments when looking up at the evening sky and think of old friends, relatives who make me happy and confident and secure, people who made me laugh, smile, dance. People who love me and make me feel love. And those who may be far away, but still close in my heart and I think- what are they looking at right now? Are they seeing what I am seeing? Do they see the face of the man in the full, bright moon? Are they giving old Neil a wink?
I know, I am.
What do you think of when you look up at the evening sky? Do you see the man in the moon?
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See you next week. 🙂