April 14, 2006


Returning home is a bumpy, heated ride.
This tumultuous reentry is hard to manage.
Crossing over from one world to another.
Feet, back on the ground in reality, gravity.

It was patently not so, for about a week.
The free flotation of weightless koinonia.
The buoyant freedom of purposeful service.
The distraction of a stranger’s embodied story.

And then there is new landscape, the heavens.
A new outlook in a clear gaze. Such new stars!
No longer hazed over by thick layers of life.
Your world: now galaxies larger than before.

Eventually you notice your own globe again.
But how strangely different it looks, up here.
Colors, deeper. Vexations, smaller. Why must
I fly away, only then to see latent beauty here?

After nine orbits, the curve back home is near.
Back down to my reality, fantasy that it can be.
An earthly object circumnavigates only so long.
The pull of Monday morning exerts its force.

I wonder: Do the spacemen who so easily float
high above me in the heavens, for days distracted,
do they return to terra firma completely intact?
Does a piece of that heaven come home inside?

Maybe they walk around, a little lighter after all.
Maybe one never comes back down the same.

Written in 2005, on the plane ride home from a week of mission work in Mexico. During that week, the space shuttle was orbiting overhead.