Go, Wally!

Her joy was a joy to behold. Wally Funk’s brief flight into space aboard Blue Origin fulfilled a lifelong dream. An aviation pioneer in her own right, she was denied a chance to fly in space 60 years ago because of her sex. Tuesday morning, at 82, she became the oldest human to ever fly in space.

The real story, though, is her perseverance in following her passion. She trained as hard – even harder – than the male candidates for space flight, but she was never allowed to join the elite (read: male) team of astronauts. Still, she never lost confidence that she would one day make it into space. Billionaire Jeff Bezos invited her to be a guest on Blue Origin’s first human flight to space. It was, finally, a dream come true.

A fun sidelight, at least for this retired United Methodist pastor: On Tuesday morning, 300 members of White’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake, Texas, attended a watch party at the church to cheer their friend’s accomplishment.

Soaring into space, lifted by the hopes and prayers of fellow church members as well as by a powerful rocket, she experienced the thrill of a lifetime. Most of us have dreams more firmly anchored to Earth. May we continue to pursue them as persistently and hopefully and successfully as Wally Funk.

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