Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Minor Miracle

Years ago, I worked for Beech Aircraft, in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas. The building in which I worked, was a Quonset building, one of several in a row, that used to be one of several hangars. There was a giant overhead door in each end of the building. Since we didn't have air conditioning, on warm days (and hot) we would open both doors and the breeze that wafted through was usually adequate to keep us fairly cool.

The department I worked in was known as department 14E, the "E" stood for "Engines". In addition to putting the engines of the aircraft together, the department was also responsible for testing hydraulic equipment.

My own position there consisted in the operation of two very large and temperamental radial drills. They drilled sideways, rather than up and down and the holes they drilled were as much as 16 feet long. These machines broke down often. Usually 3-4 times a night. They broke down so often, in fact, that the operator had to be trained to do the maintenance on them instead of calling the maintenance department. They just couldn't be bothered that often.

I worked 2nd shift, from 3:30 pm to 12:00 am.

My co-workers were all men. The only woman in the entire department was the supervisor's secretary. One can imagine what kind of language was heard constantly with no women to be careful around. This was back in the early 70's when men still respected ladies, to a point.

There were not many "religious" men working there. Or so it appeared.

One otherwise unremarkable evening, something very remarkable happened.

I remember I was screwing off, as usual. I was young and foolish and thought I was too good to work for a manufacturing company, although I had no education over that of high school.

I was going to be a millionaire as soon as I figured out what I was good at.

I was walking towards the north door, away from my post, and suddenly I became aware that the sky outside had turned a vivid pink in the twilight, as the sun had slipped behind a cloud.I believe I must have been the first in the department to notice this phenomenon. The other men were busy working, and talking amongst themselves as they worked. I could hear the cursing and laughter as they Joked with each other.

It was then that the remarkable thing happened.

I had stopped walking by this time. One by one the men in the building stopped working, and talking, and cursing, and laughing as they, too, became aware of the beauty spreading slowly across the sky. Every one of them, to a man, dropped their tools and slowly walked towards the open door. Then we all stood transfixed there in the opening. Wordlessly.

What a sight! 50 men standing in the opening of a former aircraft hangar gazing in rapt wonder of the beauty of a twilight sky.

It was breathtaking.

I don't know how long we all stood in silence, each man gazing in wonder at an entire world bathed in a vivid pink light. It seemed like an eternity, but it was only a few minutes, tops.

Somehow, I think each man there, atheist and agnostic, Christian and Jew, took advantage of the moment to contemplate the majesty of the universe.

I heard a voice softly say, "No one who sees this can say there is no God."

The voice was mine. It was me. Your humble friend and uneducated blogger. It seemed to come from somewhere else, as if someone else had said it. But it was me.

Nobody else said a word, as far as I know, we all stood there in silence and awe.

Soon after that, everyone returned to their work. And returned to talking and laughing, but the cursing had stopped, and the laughter was subdued, not loud and boisterous as before.

At that moment, I believe everyone in that building believed in God.

21 comments:

Daffy76 said...

Wow, Mark. Just wow . . .

Dana said...

What a great story. Thanks for sharing it.

Erudite Redneck said...

I think it's moments like that that have had a more lasting effect on my spiritual journey than anything.

--ER

Anonymous said...

I love your informative entries...you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a income opportunity home based business site/blog. It pretty much covers income opportunity home based business related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great If you a health issue, I'm sure you'd be interested in alternative medicines Stop alternative medicines

Anonymous said...

Hey, nice blog here! I'll be back.

I have a child birth site/blog.
It covers child birth related stuff.

Come and check it out when you get time.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog! Please visit this site
too!

Anonymous said...

Star Jones and Kathy Griffin: What's on tonight
They haven't shown the M*A*S*H finale that often since its 1983 airing, but The Hallmark Channel ... FX has a new Over There at 10.
Great blog, I'll definatly recommend it to some of my friends that are into horse racing

I also have a site on horse racing tip

Please feel free to take a look

Erudite Redneck said...

Gee whiz. You need to spray for spambots!

Mark said...

ER, I've contacted blogger.com about the blogspammers but as usual, they don't do anything

mlwhitt said...

Mark you are going to have to join us on the dark side and enable word verification. I know it sucks but man, those spambots suck more.

Beautiful story by the way. Gee, there is nothing more I can say than you are right, how anyone can look at that beauty and not believe in God is beyond me.

Francis Lynn said...

If you were offered a one-way life-span trip through the universe, leaving all behind, to view the wonders & glorious, unimaginable sights of the universe, would you?
Check out some of the photo-astronomy sites & you might be tempted.

tugboatcapn said...

I remember a moment like that once.
My sister, her boyfriend at the time, and I were standing on my front porch right at sunset when the shy slowly turned an incredible Orange-Pink color.
We stood in silence for a few moments and then, my sister's boyfriend turned and said..
"It's Pollution! Isn't it Preeety?"

She didn't marry him, by the way...

Poison Pero said...

Very nice Mark..........Oh and by the way:

I have a income opportunity home based business site/blog. It pretty much covers income opportunity home based business related stuff.
-------------------
Oh and also:

I'm sure you'd be interested in alternative medicines Stop alternative medicines
--------------------
This too:

I have a child birth site/blog.
It covers child birth related stuff.
--------------------
And 1 last thing:

Star Jones and Kathy Griffin: What's on tonight
They haven't shown the M*A*S*H finale that often since its 1983 airing, but The Hallmark Channel ... FX has a new Over There at 10.
Great blog, I'll definatly recommend it to some of my friends that are into horse racing

Poison Pero said...

What in the Hell is going on with all these spamin mutha f'rs?

FrenziedFeline said...

Sigh. :)

A.T. said...

Great story about a poignant moment - well told.

Personally, I get too wrapped up in legal arguments regarding the preponderance or paucity of evidence for God, and I pay scant attention - to my own discredit - to the self-evidence of God's majesty as seen through nature. If it was a good enough basis for Paul in Romans, after all, it ought to be good enough for me.

Daffy76 said...

Tug, the fact that I didn't end up married to him is further proof of the existence of a loving God.

kmack said...

Mark-

You would almost be tempted to think that "the heavens declare the glory of the Lord." Sunsets are one of the things I miss most not living on the plains. The nice thing about Kansas/Nebraska/and the Dakotas is that there are no pesky trees to obscure one's view.

Mary said...

Beautiful story, Mark.

About a week ago, I saw the most beautiful sunset.

The glow was other-worldly, like someone had left the door to heaven ajar.

tugboatcapn said...

Amen, Daffy...