For those holding their breath right along with the crew of Russian submariners trapped 600 feet below the surface, last Sunday’s rescue was a welcome relief. Similarly, today’s safe return of the space shuttle Discovery after unprecedented in-flight repairs brought more good news to the headlines. Somewhere between these hard-won triumphs in the depths of the ocean and the reaches of space there is room for perspective.
Men and women today are so accustomed to the technology and inspiration behind our modern miracles such as cell phones and iPods that we’re almost blind to the wonder of it all. Then when extreme scenarios present themselves we again stand in awe of the capabilities available to us. Such awe would easily lead to arrogance when it appears that there is nothing we can’t do, but for the memories of other subs and other shuttles that did not return. Our human ingenuity seems barely able at times to stay ahead of our human ignorance. We can conceive of things in a way that borders on the Divine, while the Devil remains in the details.
We stumble and trip, then breakthrough and soar, going from saying, “What were they thinking?” to “Imagine that!”