Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Sunday, May 13, 2018

NEVER TOO LATE [Sun, 5-13-18]

NEVER TOO LATE                [Sun, 5-13-18]

Robert Goddard was the first real rocket scientist. He was ridiculed by the press for thinking that space travel was possible, since, everyone was sure that a rocket could not operate in a vacuum. He died in 1945. In 1969, the New York Times printed an apology to him after the Apollo moon landing thus: “It is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.” [1]

When I was going through chemotherapy-very miserably-and pretty sure I was going to die, either from cancer or the chemo, I came across the statement, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” It’s likely that I had heard that many times, but it had never really meant anything to me before.

In old age, we have a chance to re-do situations where we made mistakes, and apologize to the Robert Goddards of our life, even if they are gone. The folks who work on the “healing of memories,” a term first used by Agnes Sanford, understand that. God is quite willing to act as a go-between to those who are no longer in this life--for our apologies, for our acts of forgiveness, and for our requests for forgiveness,

And it’s a lot cheaper than printing a classified in the New York Times saying, “I called you ostrobogulous when you were merely weird in a generic way. I regret the error.”


1] I read the story of the NYT apology to Goddard in Michio Kaku, The Future of Humanity [Doubleday, 2018]

Friday The 13th, comes on Sunday this month.

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