On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered an amazing speech regarding his audacious plan to ensure that our nation would be the first to have a man on the moon by the end of that decade. Undoubtedly, he had to manage the voices of many who were critical of his plan — causing him to imbed into his speech, an answer to the question of "Why?" by saying:
We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained ... But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? ... We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things ... not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone ...
This passage has always inspired me because it hits the nail on the head in regards to why we humans freely choose to embark on that which is difficult. We do so not just because we want to do things that are hard. Rather, we do so because when we set a vision for greatness, those who are most focused and most committed to the vision know that it will hapen only when we dare to embark on related tasks that seem impossible to most — especially our critics. For Kennedy, getting to the moon was one such task that he knew would mark a new day of global leadership for space exploration ... the beautiful, mysterious moon.
It is the moon that always casts its protective illumination over my children, Monica and Andrew, this time of year ... a time when they don costumes and trek out into the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. Admittedly, now that Monica and Andrew are adolescents, they much prefer staying home to hand out the treats rather than going out asking for them.
One of the best Halloween experiences we ever had was when Andrew was not yet 3 and Monica was almost 5. Andrew's costume was all set because handed down to him was an awesome homemade bumblee costume created by my friend, Cynthia.
Monica on the other hand had her heart set on being Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. And when I learned of her desire, I decided to embark on the challenge of sewing her costume from scratch. It was not easy. The pattern had many challenges which required lots of work — much more than I anticipated.
At the time, there were some critics in my life wondering why I was "wasting" my energy sewing from scratch when I could easily buy a Dorothy costume from the store. But when October 31st arrived, the answer was clear: Monica was the best-looking Dorothy in the whole neighborhood. (And Andrew was the most adorable bumblebee on the planet.)
When we embark on creating something from scratch, we do so not because it is easy. We do so because though it may be hard, we know it is what will mark a new day of achievement, a new day of gaining knowledge, a new day of knowing that when we stay focused and committed, anything is possible.
I remember the walk back home that Halloween night, after we were all done trick-or-treating. My husband, Gerardo, was pulling our happy but exhausted Dorothy and bumblebee in our little red wagon as I followed from a few steps behind. And I'll never forget the moon casting its light ever so brightly to illuminate the path that would lead us back home.
Let us continue to aim for the moon ... not because it is easy, but because it is hard. And because it is possible.
Editor-in-Chief & Director of Publishing
[This letter was published in the September/October 2009 issue of Somerset Studio.]