Two dogs and a couple walked the corner of a barren soccer field. There were no rockets in sight.
"Hmm, I thought it was here," I murmured to Daniel, checking my phone and the address again. "I'll call Mark to get Art's number."
And then, just as the call was finishing, we saw them. Far in the distance to the right rippled a couple tent awnings, with some men and boys lined up.
Daniel and I grabbed lawn chairs and water bottles and began the long hike.
Grandpas, fathers, young men and boys crouched around tables, totes and truck beds. A towering spiny ridge of twelve metal spokes took center stage. Males lined up rockets in various sizes, colors, and shapes, sliding the rocket bodies down spindles, and attaching them to the electrical firing mechanisms.
Daniel joined them, walking up in pride and excitement, uncertain of how it all worked. New-acquaintance Mr. Neal graciously taught him how to thread the rocket down the take-off rod before attaching two metal clips to each fuse wire.
That's where your power comes from, he taught us. The new rocket model motor, for all its fiery potential, was nothing without the spark.
Daniel checked the connections and stepped back.
"Range closed," the leader rang out, and the twelve or fifteen of us walked back behind the safety line. Mr. Neal moved behind the electrical control box, teaching Daniel how to arm and fire his rocket for when his turn came.
One by one each rocket's name, creator and motor type was announced, before the launch sequence began. Five, four, three, two, one!
Squealing whooshes and whizzes, rumbles and pops surprised us. We exclaimed and followed the flight paths of each rocket, losing them for a bit in the afternoon sunlight and blue sky.
Achieving peak trajectory, they hung mid-air for a moment before hurtling towards earth. Free-falling rockets tumbled and dropped at fast rates as we watched and murmured, exclaiming or laughing at each one's story. Tiny parachutes burst out in oranges, yellows, pinks, or red, while other rockets tore in two and raced towards the ground, crashing hard.
One by one down the line, rockets of all shapes and sizes had their turn. Most crackled and soared high, but several remained silent, motionless on the launch floor as the controller flicked their ignition buttons with no response.
Welp, connection error, the rocket controller concluded and moved on to other rockets.
And I felt it, this truth from rocket falls and rocket launches. If I'm not connected to time in God's word, to the powerful life and joy and meaning that flows from him, then I'm just stuck silent on the launch pad. My only sizzle and life flows from the Creator of this rotating globe, and everything else is just a dressed-up rocket with no juice to go.
And I've heard it, that Martin Luther used to say that he was too busy NOT to pray, indeed ordering his busiest days to schedule in extra time to pray. That has resonated strongly in me this week. Pouring coffee, grabbing journal, Bible and pen, I scratch To Do lists alongside writing out a Bible psalm each morning, and I feel it soak God's vitality and purpose deep in me.
As September sidles up beside us, and the schedules shift, join me in this? Let's check to make sure our connections are clipped in. Are you linked to the Source? Getting juiced up?
That's where our Power comes from, friend.
May your times savoring God's presence bring you joy, life, and centered-focus in this busy season. May he be your soul's rest and renewal, your slowed-down moments, before you hurtle high.
Smiling with you, cheering you on too, and praying for you,
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