Planetfall and the Wisdom of Kenobi

“In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode IV:  A New Hope

Recently, I attended an event held by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, called PlanetfallPlanetfall is actually a book of composite digital images that an artist created from source material gathered by various NASA satellites used to photograph planets in our solar system.

While the discussion of some of the images was interesting, especially the admission that our solar system sits within the Orion Arm of the Milky Way – helping to solidify our “galactic demotion to insignificance” as the photographer phrased it – it’s the theological implications of this supposed “insignificance” that give me pause, especially during Easter week!  Despite the vastness of the cosmos, the Creator of it all, the Master of the Universe, chose to enter the confines of space-time, come to this floating orb of “insignificance”, take on skin, live as one of us, die as the perfect sacrifice, rise on the third day, and thus kick Death (Nisroc) in the face with spikes on?  Well, if you believe the Christian Gospel, then, yes.

After the presentation I got to wander around the gallery and look at some of the actual digital composite images, and that’s where the geek fun was to be had as I sat, stared, and imagined.  None were as vivid as the imaginings that came out of viewing the digital images of the sands of Mars, as I mentally superimposed Banthas, Tusken Raiders, Jawas, a Sandcrawler, Moisture Farm, and Jabba’s Palace on various points in the foreground, with the skyline of Mos Eisley still and faded into the background.  One franchise is never enough though, as the locals and denizens of Tatoonie were replaced in my mind’s eye with the inhabitants of another “desert planet”, Arakis.  Worms, Ornithopters, a Fremen seitch, and the skyline of Arakeen filled the landscape.  It was almost as if a voice within the painting strained to whisper “Long Live the Fighters” as I gazed at it.

As I pulled myself away from a place far away and thousands of years into the future, toward my more immediate need for food, a woman in the line called me out for my use of a scooter.  It wasn’t in a bad way, she just wanted to know why.  As I began to talk with her and tell her the story, it became apparent to me that this was not “accident”, no “coincidence”, as she has a family friend who is my age and now paralyzed from the waste down because of a skiing accident.  What’s more, she began to tell me the story of her brother:  a baby born with cancer whom the doctors advocated that the parents just let him die; he’s now in his 50’s and cancer free.  We talked of Mom, Dad, the FENX, my beginnings, my work in Capitol Hill, the day I saw where I was born, and their family’s generational love of aerospace – her Dad worked for NASA and her son works for Space X – as I mentioned now working with the FAA.  In the midst of this conversation, that eventually turned to Star Wars, I mentioned to her that I thought that this meeting was not an accident, and reminded her of Kenobi’s wisdom from a long time ago.  I can’t say she agreed, but she accepted that I believed it.  Hopefully taking time to look at some of the media posted on this site might expand her thinking but only time will tell, and I may never know.

What I thought might be an evening of geek photos turned into a bigger adventure than I expected, but, as Elle says “Adventure is out there!”  You just need to keep your eyes open for it.

Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0, Star Wars, Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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