We just finished watching Apollo 13 again, for the first time in a long time. I’ve seen it many times before, and every time I do, I get that upwelling of hope, and joy, and triumph when the Odyssey lands safely in the Indian Ocean and the voice of Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell comes on the air, saying, “Houston, this is the Odyssey. It’s good to see you.”
At that point, the entire crew of mission control erupts into claps and shouts of triumph and tears of relief. They, along with the families of the astronauts, and along with the entire world, give thanks and praise for the safe return of the three men of Apollo 13.
Of course Ron Howard’s masterful directing, the superb acting of not only the Apollo 13 crew ~ Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and William _____ ~ but also of the ensemble cast, masterfully led by Ed Harris, of actors peopling Mission Control, and the cast inhabiting the roles of the astronauts families and friends, and especially the music that wrings the full range of emotion from the audience, all contribute to that joyful up-swelling.
But I think, more than anything else, what taps into that wellspring of hope and joy in me is the portrayal of a world, the entire population of the earth, united in compassion and concern, all sharply focused on one goal: to bring the astronauts of Apollo 13 safely home.
I was young, but I remember the flight of Apollo 13, and the intensity of energy and attention brought to bear by the governments and by the peoples of the world, congress passing a resolution asking the American people to pray for the astronauts safe return, the Pope leading prayers in Vatican City for the same.
That kind of energy, focused in harmony all over the world, is exactly what has been missing in the world for a long time ~ a focused harmony that has as its goal the greatest good for ALL of the people.
I believe that focused, harmonious energy may be the ultimate vehicle of change brought about by the Occupy movement that is even now uniting the world and illustrating that every human being truly is a member of the global community, with all the privileges and responsibilities such citizenship carries with it.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find ourselves filled with that same upwelling of hope and joy and triumph for having secured to every single person in the world the right not just to survival but to that abundance of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ourselves and our posterity” which is, in fact, the birthright of every human being?
It is possible. It is, in fact, easy.
“It isn’t a miracle,” says Jim Lovell of the first moon landing. “We just decided to go.”