“Jerry, meet Charles Duke. He’s been to the moon.”

Hardly an introduction one is offered every day.

So far – as of this blog writing – just a dozen sets of human footprints have ever marked the lunar surface. America had overtaken Russia in a great cosmic race.

The new acquaintance smiled my way. “Charlie,” he said. I took the extended hand. “Pleased to meet you, sir”.

Shaking the Colonel’s hand added one more link to my feeling connected – however remotely – to the wild, daring adventure NASA had embarked on in response to President Kennedy’s challenge.

How many Apollo blueprints, flush with intricate detail, did I sort and file up at the Tulsa plant anyway, I wondered. . . With their engineerish terms like Reaction Control Thruster Assembly and the like?

Charlie Duke was in Africa to deliver a Kenya flag that had traveled on an Apollo flight to the moon and back. It would be gifted to the National Museum. My wife and I had moved to Kenya a few years before. Today we were visiting friends in the Capital.

I joined a gathering that evening where the astronaut recounted his moon walk, along with a story of his personal faith.

Finding a seat I was soon taken by the former astronaut’s words. Near the end of his Apollo 16 narratives he shifted topics, sharing highlights of his journey with Christ.

Another witness. Another quite intelligent space-traveller – speaking of a reality he’d come to own, of a truth and a person upon whom he chose to anchor his life. The room was quiet – the only sounds the colonel’s measured tones, deep with feeling yet controlled. The impact of his next statement – like his enduring footprint on the moon’s surface – never left me.

“Travelling to outer space was a rare and wonderful experience. Yet. .”

The room grew quieter still.

“I’ve found that walking on the moon can’t begin to compare with walking on the earth with the Son.”

©2017 Jerry Lout

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