Friday, July 31, 2015

Tether

My five point harness had me locked into a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) training chair. This piece of equipment is used by astronauts to train for work in a microgravity environment. I was excited to be part of this simulation, preparing to “fix” a broken part of the external components of the International Space Station (ISS) as a team member on a mock spacewalk. In a space simulation, I quickly learn that unwieldy space suits and simulated microgravity environment exercises can make me go swishing across the polished floor. Laughing, I felt myself going backwards until at 25 feet out, my safety tether snapped taught. My momentum was changed as I started to slowly move forward again towards the black and white structure. Still smiling, my hands and feet braced to gently catch myself coming back to the station wall. The tether, made of strong woven fibers and thick metal buckles, has to be able to withstand the simulated great temperature variances found in space, resist abrasions and still maintain flexibility. It didn’t take long to discover that more than a gentle movement would send me inadvertently moving away from the mock-up station; and be grateful for the safety tethers that keep me from careening off across the floor. 



A book titled The Untethered Soul caught my attention the other day. Let me put in my aside here, I have not read the book - it could be good, my reaction is purely to the title. An untethered soul, and all I could think of was simulations of fixing a mock-up of the ISS. My response to the title was thankfulness for the tethers in my life.

Sitting for a few quiet minutes today, I thought of who and what makes up my safety tether. Some of the fibers are short and others of inestimable yardage are woven in throughout. Buckles, forged from unbreakable love of Jesus are ones that do not fail. The webbed lengths are strong in family, friends, love, retain joy in abundance and resist abrasions with compassion. These cordage systems keep us from drifting away into space. They are our life lines that pull us back, reversing the backward momentum. And we in turn serve the same purpose for others.

At least until it’s time to take your MMU for a little spin, and go drifting slowly across the floor for the fun of it.