Give a ‘boost’

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jeffrey Neuberger
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing chaplian
Lessons in life come from all areas. A most recent lesson for me came from "looking up" while attending a chaplains' conference at a monastery in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Brother Lawrence, a resident monk, is a notable astronomer and photographer of the skies. One evening Brother Lawrence provided a wonderful view of the October sky overhead by setting up his telescope in the hills overlooking the city. With laser pointer in hand, Brother Lawrence drew our attention to the sparkling show above our head: "There is a meteor belt; there is Cassiopeia, Polaris, the Milky Way."

He continued on, fascinating us with his knowledge of the universe. Finally I had a chance to peer through the telescope and view the fifth planet from our sun, Jupiter. I could clearly see three of its four major moons.

"Wow!" I said. "I'm actually looking at Jupiter and its moons!"

We know about the planets and stars but we rarely take time to consider everything going on "out there." Brother Lawrence pointed out a group of stars that make up a "teapot," and then explained the Milky Way (actually our galaxy) forms the "steam" coming from the teapot. There were many similar, clever descriptions of the skies.

Having viewed Jupiter, I decided to brush up on a few Jupiter facts. (I haven't done this since it was required in high school). I was most impressed with an incidental story related to Jupiter. It seems the latest probe to visit Jupiter, the Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft, made use of the gravity from Jupiter to increase its speed and adjust its trajectory toward Pluto, thereby saving years of travel. What a "boost!"

I began thinking of a life-application to the 'boost' given the probe by Jupiter's gravity. There are many people who have acted as a 'boost' in my life, helping me to continue and complete my journey through space and time. In my nearness to them, they have influenced me in such a way that I get on a better, truer course in life.

Here's a challenge: name the titles of five speeches or sermons you've heard that have changed your life. Takes a while, doesn't it. Perhaps you can't even think of one. Instead, name five people who have changed your life. This is much easier, isn't it! The ease of naming persons demonstrates the power of personal influence as we 'boost' each other along the path of life. Providing that boost is what being a good Wingman is all about.