The countdown continues, and you don’t have long to prepare to go so far away. Not to space, or even to Uganda, but possibly the Inner City of your home town. It may be “worlds” different from what you’re used to and might even feel like you’ve stepped onto a different planet. There is still a lot of work to do and new, perspective-changing ground to cover. For example, one of the first things astronauts learn in their flight training is what our earth looks like from outer space.
So, in the spirit of any good Walt Disney children’s documentary, before we go into orbit, let’s take a look at what Bob, Skip, and Dave saw in Monkeys from Mars when they first looked back at planet earth:
“Whoa…. Wait a second!” Bob may have said. “Something’s not right about this view. Is that….is that Africa on top?”
You can almost hear Uncle Walt’s Voiceover Narration: That’s right, Bob. That’s Africa.
“So, from space the world is hanging upside down?” Monkeynaut Dave may comment.
Walt: Well, no. (chuckles) Our world is hanging without an “up” or a “down.” You see, Dave, because the first cartographers were European and American, they naturally drew themselves on the top.
“And we’re not really on top?” says Skip.
Walt: No, we’re not. Sometimes you are “down under.”
That one perspective of the world changed in a moment for the monkeynauts, didn’t they? And there are outlooks that may so for you as you embark on this journey. Your own world view doesn’t mean you will eventually see the earth from outer space, but you will more than likely take a step back and learn something that will surprise you, maybe even shake your foundation.
Some new perspectives might be simple. For example, Central Americans don’t fancy the same personal space North Americans do. This might become awkward. And then some may make our eyes pop out of our head: Its okay for women to breastfeed in church in this African village? Men may hold hands as simply friends? Don’t be scared of any changes or new ways of thinking. Think of them as an adventure. Seeing things from a whole new angle can really be a blessing.
I took one girl to Honduras who had issues with cleanliness. Not her cleanliness, mind you, but everyone else. She really had a hard time with being touched on the hand. She knew not from whence this particular phobia came, but it was how she was nonetheless. She would not hold hands in prayer, with a boyfriend, or shake hands. It drove her mad to think of it. Only her best friends knew this about her and shared it with me before the trip. They were afraid the Latin American touchy-feely issue would freak her out. Long story short, it didn’t. Well, not on the outside (and that’s what mattered). By the end of the week she let two little girls drag her by both hands down the dirt road to the river, giggling all the way. I won’t say she didn’t have a grimace on her face, but I will tell you what she said afterwards: “It was worth every germ.” (Perhaps even the germs she was spreading to them!)
We may be visiting somewhere "upside down," but important changes will happen in our hearts and theirs if our thought process is right-side up.