What do you think? It’s a dangerous question for a person to ask. It means an immediate commitment to listening and then working to understand what the other person really does have on their mind or what their opinion might be. And if the person questioned takes the chance that the asker is serious s/he will soon know by observing the questioner’s eye contact and body language. It can be a precarious situation for both. It requires a semblance of trust, and will either increase or deteriorate the trust between the two conversers.
I’ll leave the question open from the start, anyway, and take a chance that you and I may want to take that step into trust. So, what do you think about Divine Revelation?
Back in 2009 I was doing pretty well professionally. I was working on the space shuttle and during my time at the space coast we had launched twenty-five missions to build the International Space Station. My group managed the power distribution system on-board from the time we put the ships into their maintenance bays until the moment of launch. Before and after those events we monitored the systems from a couple hours before until a couple hours after so we could support Mission Control in Houston. Your imagination cannot go astray in considering how important people think it is to be able to ‘turn the lights on’ and anything else associated with electricity where the Space Shuttle is concerned. I was personally at a high point professionally just by being associated with the engineers and technicians that accomplished the work to make these flights safe, effective, and efficient. The tragedy of Columbia only affirmed our need to commit to these goals more stringently.
Of course, this time was through the 2008 national elections and I’m rather opinionated in certain areas. Frequenting the National Public Radio site and commenting quite often I had occasion to write and respond to articles routinely. On the subject of working and welfare an argument was being carried out about the difference between those that can and do work hard and succeed and those that don’t and won’t, and why should they receive such lavish government support.
There was a short comment made to me. “Do you always get what you want?” The question was in electronic form but it resonated in my mind and ears as though it were delivered with the blare of drums and bugles. Full of myself and the pride of a thirty-year technical career I went on for a dozen sentences about how ‘I’ had done so-and-so, how ‘I’ had accomplished such-and-such, and how anyone could do the same and stretch the limits of their talents. And if one only worked inter-dependently collaborating with others exercising their talents, one was bound to be successful. I closed the comment out and thought no more of it.
Of course, the 2008 elections brought Mr. Obama into the Oval Office and immediately his policy to close down the shuttle program went into effect. Before the next year was out, I was taking a voluntary layoff from the dying program and moving with my wife to Ohio. She was able to find work within two weeks. It would be a year in the market before I would find permanent work again, and at a much lower pay level and activity level, with no other responsibility than what appeared on the incoming bench at the university electronic repair facility. Truth be told, I sat around waiting for work to come round and that happened once every couple of weeks. Each time I tried extending myself beyond my job requirements I was closed down.
I’d had successes and failures, even an event requiring some disciplinary action while in the Navy. Always I was able to overcome It didn’t matter what the situation was or how bad it appeared. ‘I’ could always overcome. This time was different.
It didn’t matter what ‘I’ tried to do or who I was talking with. It didn’t matter that I was applying all that ‘I’ learned from Dale Carnegie, Og Mandino, Lee Iacocca, and Stephen Covey as well as other self-improvement/self-help intellects of the 20th century. I was constantly rebuffed or rejected, I had too strong a resume or too weak. I would lose my head in one interview, not be able to think clearly in the next, and have a seemingly perfect interview that yielded no additional contact. The work and access I would be able to acquire or accomplish diminished asymptotically until I know if I reached down I could touch the zero line on the graph. I fought a depression and a sense of worthlessness. Even in my volunteer time I was restricted by one or another event. Nothing ‘I’ could do would yield success.
Three years after leaving the best job I ever had at Kennedy Space Center I received a call and then a call-back from Rolls-Royce Energy Systems. I was skeptical. I had no expectations. In fact, my response to the call back resulted in confusion on the part of RR HR recruiting and extended the whole process over an additional month. But with each call, with each interview, I let hope rise. By August and after eight weeks of wondering when this would go the excitement from both me and my wife was palatable.
One morning I was reading my daily meditation and the Psalm was about a resounding uplift of the psalmist by God. The future was about to be bright and all that was would once again be. I shared this with my wife and the story of my NPR experience from 2008. We just sat in wonder. A week later I received an offer from Rolls-Royce that I accepted, and now in my second week of working on the same types of equipment I’ve spent my life with. I’m feeling quite at home in this turbine manufacturing environment.
Somewhere along the way in life I forgot I was in a partnership with Him, agreeing to abide by the call of Genesis and work to help Him manage this world He created. Twice my prayers for Him to ‘just come down and talk with me’ were answered in an unexpected way. Once I was warned, and did not recognize the warning. Now I feel rewarded, and remain humble for having heard His voice and recognized the extent of my pride.
The Catholic Church tries to put into words what Divine Revelation might ‘look’ like or how it might be perceived by each of us in the Vatican II Document Dei Verbum. As in all attempts to formulate the Spiritual from human concepts, and as good a document as this might be, it just seems as though shaping the idea falls short. There is nothing that can compare to personal experience with the Divine nor any way to express it so others can fully comprehend and resonate with it. Yet, in such an experience as I have described, I know for myself this part of my life has been bracketed by God.
- The Eight Beatitudes are rungs on the ladder to Heaven (patheos.com)