Having spent the last several years near the Space Coast, we’ve learned a lot about launches and countdowns. One of the most important lessons for the space geek is that the countdown to launch isn’t really 1:1 relative to time. You see, there are always delays, called “holds.” They build in holds at specific points in the countdown, like at T-9 minutes. These holds allow for system checks and go-no go polls around the control room.
There are also unplanned holds. That T-9 hold is usually about 20 minutes, but if there is an unresolved issue in a system, they can lengthen it. Sensors might go off between planned holds that require attention and result in a hold.
When holds get too long or too frequent they put the whole mission at risk. Launches are scheduled for specific times based on the orbit of the target (like the ISS), the other missions underway and other variables that I’d have to ask my Rocket Scientist friend to explain. Sometimes the launch window is 20 minutes. Sometimes a couple of hours. But if the hold pushes the launch time past the window, it’s a no-go.
The past week has been an extended hold in my mission to log prayers for 100 Days this summer. Oh, I’ve been praying. And I’ve been writing. But I’ve not done a good systems check to find what is keeping me from releasing this hold.
In non-space terms, that’s called self-examination, confession and repentance. So today, I will spend some time gathering up the crumbs of prayers that I’ve prayed, look a little deeper into what has distracted me from coming to the prayer journal consistently, and allow the Holy Spirit to do a little cleanup and repair work.
In the meantime, I thank God for grace, second chances and faithfulness.