Wax Wings, or the Tale of a Manic Cosmonaut

Lenten journey of a lifetime.
Lenten journey of a lifetime.

Easter eggs are rolling and Lent has come and gone. But I am going to miss Lent. Yes, you heard right, miss Lent. Not for all the breast-beating and groveling and mea maxima, maxima culpas. This sinner confesses that I have followed in the footsteps of my patron saint Oscar Wilde. And quite honestly and often “the only temptation I could not resist was temptation.”

In Lent instead of walking the Way of the Cross, I went in search of the Creator. I have never been much of a contemplative sitting alone with my Bible. A Prayer Book Anglican, I don’t have the discipline to say the Daily Office. Extrovert extraordinaire, I do not have the stamina for silent retreats. But I believe in the Great Commandment. And I love in Rite I each Sunday to hear it proclaimed: “Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” And a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

So instead of cracking open a Bible, I launched myself into the cosmos. Yes I love that Star Wars Eucharistic Prayer C even if it does age me a bit. With a Big Bang the Universe came to be: “the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home.” And while never a wiz at science or math, I cracked open the Creator’s Book with more than a little help from a little trinity of astro-evangelists: Michio Kaku, Brian Greene, and Niel deGrasse Tyson.

There is a great misconception about Bipolar Disorder. People think that depression means very, very sad and that mania means very, very happy. Much more truly I tell you — it’s all about the size of your universe. On the down side it is shrunken and small and you barely get out of your neighborhood. But on the upside it is exquisitely expansive. You defy gravity and you can barely keep your feet on the ground. This is the place where the cosmonaut reaches out and tries to touch the heavens. But beware of flying too close to the sun!

So in Lent standing on the shoulders of the saints, I read Michio Kaku’s book “Einstein’s Cosmos: How Albert Einstein’s Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time”.   My daily office was a daily online visit to Brian Greene’s WorldScienceU, where this down to earth scientist gives one-minute answers to questions about string theory, special relativity, black holes, the nature of light and parallel universes. And then each Sunday there was a service celebrated by Niel deGrasse Tyson. I would sit down in my pew and reverently view each new episode of the awe filled series “Cosmos, A SpaceTime Odyssey” . Five down, I am happy to say there are still seven to go. Seven — the number of creation.

Landing softly back to earth, I hope not to lose sight of the sky. Planting my feet firmly back on the ground, I hope not to forget the One who hung the stars. Creature made of stardust, I pray to be grateful for my Creator to the end of my days.

So friends, just how big is your universe?

Pax vobiscum,



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