Psalm 46



God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of  the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Memory is a funny thing; some days I cannot find where I put my car keys; but everywhere and anytime my memory is crystal clear as I remember January 31, 1986.  On a very slight rise beside two sapling trees just outside building 16 at Johnson Space Center, I was standing with hundreds of my co-workers for the Challenger memorial service.   The President was there, and spoke; there was a lengthy program and other speakers.  But what I remember most vividly was a young astronaut by the name of Charlie Bolden at the podium reading the 46th Psalm.

There was not a doubt in my body that he meant every word that he read.

These days there seems to be some debate about some things Charlie says.  

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; . . .  the earth melts.

Isn’t it interesting how the psalmist’s imagery can apply to many situations, even the current one?

When I say there is debate, I don’t just mean about the content, althought there is that.  Whether you agree with the plan, vision, change, whatever, or not, is your business.  The debate I am referencing is the question:  Does Charlie really believe all this, or is he just a pawn in the political process saying what they tell him to say?

You would never ask that question about the Charlie Bolden that I worked when he was on the crew and I was in Mission Control.   A straight shooting Marine Aviator, he was direct, to the point, and always, always, always honest to a fault.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day

Years later when Charlie served on various review boards and we interacted, he had not changed.  Always enthusiastic, ready to ask questions, astute in his observations, Charlie was still the Marine; integrity covered him like a mantle.

I am fortunate in that I can still talk with Charlie.  In fact, it was my privilege to spend one-on-one time with him after work recently.   We talked about many things but mostly about the future path for NASA – the plan which he has been speaking about. 

Here is my conclusion:  what Charlie says is what Charlie believes.  Do not be mistaken.  If he doesn’t believe it, he doesn’t say it.

Now you may still disagree with Charlie – that’s OK – but at least you should know that Charlie maintains his integrity.

That’s a role model we all can follow.

The Lord makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bows and shatters the spear.