Guest Post: The Illustrator’s Wife talks Astronomers vs. Astronauts
Hello Sweet Friends! I’ll admit that I’m a bit giddy to introduce you to today’s guest blogger ( because I know how wonderful she is, and so is her post today too!). Meet Meagan Page of The Illustrator’s Wife. If you’ve been reading A Simple Conversation for awhile, you may remember when I featured Meagan and highly recommended you follow her growing blog. Meagan is the wife of talented illustrator, Jake Page, whose work she features on her blog. Today she’s sharing with us a sweet devotional (and illustration by her hubby, of course!) that will get you thinking and bless your soul. Enjoy! M.A.
My husband, Jake, loves dinosaurs. I discovered this while we were in New York City a few winters ago. We were in the city for an artists’ conference, but the night before we were to fly home, a great white blizzard blew through, and all flights were canceled. This gave everyone in our group an extra day to go exploring, and somehow, Jake and I found ourselves wandering into the American Museum of Natural History.
We walked the “Mammal Halls” and saw the dioramas of all the diverse, furry creatures in their natural habitats, looking so life-like I half expected them to move (and continually reminding me of Ross Geller – I couldn’t help it!); we walked through a giant replica of the galaxy; and we gazed at about a zillion photographs of different birds of the world. All this was interesting enough…
And then we got to… the DINOSAURS.
Jake became a little boy again. You would’ve thought we’d entered a theme park. I had never seen this side of him before, so it was kind of exhilarating to watch him come alive as he raced from exhibit to exhibit, pulling me along, touching everything he was allowed to touch, spouting off all sorts of random (to me) facts about dinosaurs of which I’d never even heard.
Megalosauruses! Styracosauruses… Did you know their nose horns could be up to two feet long?! Pteranodons!… Come on, you know this one – “Petrie” from Land Before Time!
He couldn’t get enough of it. And of course, the thrill hit its all time high when we reached the Hall of Saurischians. There Jake beheld his beloved Tyrannosaurus Rex.
– “You said you have a T-Rex? Say again?”
– “We have a T-REX!!!”
I’m teasing a bit, obviously. He really does love his dinosaurs, but it was fun for me, too, to see him so happy. And that background knowledge will help you understand why, for his birthday, I gave Jake the multi-disc collector’s edition set of all three Jurassic Park movies, and why that was such an amazingly awesome gift, and why I happen to be the best wife ever. :)
So anyway. For the past few nights, we’ve been watching these movies together, in order. Last night, we watched the last one, Jurassic Park III. I didn’t think it was quite up to snuff compared with the other two, at least not from a screenwriting/filmmaking point of view, but that’s really beside the point. A line that Sam Neill’s character spoke really stuck with me. It’s been bothering me all day.
Sam Neill’s character, Dr. Alan Grant, is talking with Erik, the little boy. A friend of theirs has just been carried off by a pterodactyl, and they’re kind of discussing their feelings about having lost this friend. During this bit of dialogue, Dr. Grant remarks to Erik that he believes there are basically two types of boys – those who want to be astronomers and those who want to be astronauts. The astronomer gets to study all this amazing stuff about the universe from a place of complete safety. To which the little boy interjects, “But then you never get to go into space.”
“Exactly,” says Dr. Grant. “That’s the difference between imagining and seeing: to be able to touch them.”
Of course, they’re really talking about dinosaurs – studying dinosaur bones and imagining what these animals were like, verses actually getting to see the dinosaurs firsthand and touch them.
But I have to laugh, because the Holy Spirit would choose to speak to me in the middle of a mediocre dinosaur movie – He seems to enjoy doing funny stuff like that. Because the thing is, I know Alan Grant was talking about dinosaurs in that scene, but I couldn’t help applying his words to my own life (I’d say “to my own spiritual life” except that I’m coming to understand that everything is spiritual).
See, I’m an astronomer. I knew it as soon as he said it. I’m like Dr. Grant. I love to sit and study old things – church history, doctrine, theology, etc.; I love to crack open old books by Martin Luther, John Wesley, whomever, and discover lost treasures of church tradition and thought – the liturgy of praying the hours, the disciplines, the symbolism of the Eucharist, Greek words and Hebrew words and paradoxes and parables. I busy myself in figuring out what it all might mean and how it’s all connected, and I eat that stuff up. But when it comes to going out and actually doing what I’m reading in the Bible… I pretty much suck at that. I’m not cut out to be an astronaut. It’s way, waaayyy too dangerous. And radical.
Or at least, that’s what I’ve told myself. And that needs to change. Because deep down, in my heart of hearts, it terrifies me to think I could look back on my life at the end of it and have done nothing more than sketch portraits of God on my walls. I want to go to the places where only a few have been because most “sane” people dare not risk it. I want to be in the thick of where my wild God moves, to see Him firsthand. I want to know not only His words, but His Voice. I want to reach out and touch Him.