Messenger from the Sky
Messenger from the Sky
The Perseid meteor shower shines a heavenly light on a desperate job seeker.
One August evening I stood in my front yard, silent with wonder as streaks of silvery light shot across the sky. It was the time of the annual Perseid meteor showers, and the heavens were putting on a spectacular show.
“It’s great being here to see this, Mom,” George said, putting his arm around my waist.
My son and his family had been living with me since spring. After eight years with a security job in the Air Force, he’d decided not to reenlist. He had packed everything in his Chevy truck and come home to Florida to start over as a civilian.
“It’ll be easier on my family,” he said, and I agreed.
George’s father had been a career Navy man, and I worked at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville. I understood how difficult the military could be.
At ﬁrst it was fun, all of us being together. The children were both only preschool age then, and always wide-eyed with discovery. We took trips to St. Augustine and other Florida sights. We shared the chores and the babysitting, and my daughter-in-law, Penney, and I kept a jigsaw puzzle going on a table in the living room.
We had cookouts in the backyard--hot dogs, sweet corn, watermelon and all the trimmings. But my house was small, and I’d been used to living alone. Spring had turned into summer, and the strain was beginning to show.
George’s job search had taken much longer than he’d expected, and he was beginning to become ﬁlled with self-doubt. Money was tight, and getting a job, any job, became critical. That hot August night, as the celestial rockets plunged through the sky, I said a prayer for my son, asking God for some of that heavenly power to be directed to him and his need for work.
George slipped away at one point, and I noticed him down the street talking to someone. Their conversation seemed animated, and after a few minutes they shook hands. George started back home and then turned to wave. “Thanks, Jim!” George hurried to me.
“I have a job lead!” he said. He told me the man had recently moved from Merritt Island, home of the Kennedy Space Center.
“Jim said they hire civilians for security jobs, and I’m qualiﬁed.” There was a look of hope on my son’s face I hadn’t seen for months. “I’m going to drive down there,” he said, “ﬁrst thing in the morning.”
“But you have no appointment,” I said, “and no clearance. You just can’t walk into a place like the Space Center.” I was afraid my son was grasping at straws.
“I’ve a good feeling about this, Mom,” George said. “I believe Jim knew what he was talking about. Wait and see.”
Early the next morning George was in his Chevy truck, headed for Merritt Island. He came home that evening, triumphant.
“I did it!” he said. “I’m hired!” It seemed like no less than a miracle. “I talked like I’ve never talked before,” George explained. “I mentioned Jim, even though I didn’t know his full name. I told them about the Air Force and my family and how ready I was to go to work.”
He stopped to catch his breath. “I guess I just talked my way inside. They gave me a guest badge, and I was directed to personnel.”
In days George found a place for his family to live on Merritt Island, and he started his job at the Space Center. The heavens had truly been ﬁlled with power that August night. An angel named Jim arrived on a meteor.
Bursts of energy, inexplicable forces–how do you make sense of these phenomena, asks assistant editor Daniel Kessel?
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