Most of the globe has already celebrated New Year, but the traditional Chinese New Year in 2019 is February 5th.
HAVING FOUND ITS ORBIT, China and the world waited for the first landing on the Dark Side of the moon. News of a successful landing came on January 3rd. In addition to testing its own technological capabilities, the rewards for China are enormous – national pride, global prestige, and China’s view of itself on the global stage in having a strategic asset that helps the country to become a global superpower.
After this latest landing on the far side of the moon, we are reminded of an event that took place during President John F. Kennedy’s visit to the NASA Space Centre in September 1962. Noticing a janitor with a broom the president interrupted his tour, walked over to the janitor and said, “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing today?”
The janitor paused for a moment. Then, holding his broom in one hand, he pointed to the sky with the other and said, “Well, Mr. President, today I’m helping to put a man on the moon!”
History does not record John Kennedy’s response, and to most people in the President’s entourage the janitor was merely a bottom-grade ‘nobody’ cleaning a building. His name was not remembered, even though the exchange itself between president and janitor is still quoted half a century on.
In the more mythical, larger story unfolding all around him, the janitor too helped to make history.
Something else also took place at New Year in 2019, not on the moon, but at Buckingham Palace. One thousand and fifty seven people from all walks of life had been nominated to receive awards from the Queen, recognizing ordinary people, alongside some celebrities, who have made achievements in public life, or who had committed themselves to serving and helping the nation.
These annual awards are given because some people have made life better for many; and others, because they are simply outstanding at what they do. In total, 71% of awards in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List went to people who have undertaken outstanding work in and for their local community. None of them ever expected to be publically recognised in this way. Their deeds were brought out of the shadow into the light.
And here’s the point: No matter how large or small our role, we can contribute to a larger, unfolding story – working outwards from our own lives to our community or our workplace. Not only at New Year. Day by day these individuals build community, and communities in turn are the building blocks of our society.
Through deeds such as theirs, incredible things happen.
What was once hidden, is brought into the light.