I am typically an “in-the-moment” kind of gal. I’m all about spontaneous adventures, being present, and looking for magic in the little things. But when a solar eclipse was on a path to be witnessed by a huge swath of the United States in 2017, I found myself completely underwhelmed. Definitely not like me.
For reasons unbeknownst to me, I just thought the whole thing seemed overblown. For weeks, there were T-shirts in Walmart and commemorative cups at work. I received endless communication from my kids’ school, telling us how they were going to let them safely witness the event without destroying their retinas. Of course, the headlines about it were everywhere.
Don’t get me wrong. I generally thought it was neat and understood that it might be a once-in-a-lifetime event. But, was it really going to be so cool that it deserved all this hype? Fast forward to August 21, solar eclipse day.
At the time, I was working on a college campus, and everyone received a little packet of solar-eclipse-related swag. It included the aforementioned commemorative cup, as well as sunglasses and a little screen-printed towel. We all left our offices and headed out together, pulling up chairs and blankets around the campus football field. The time the sun was in partial eclipse was long, nearly an hour and a half, but we were told “totality” would last only about a minute. I chatted with my coworkers and prepared to think, “Well, that was neat” and move on, underwhelmed. I could not have been more wrong, but not for the reasons you might think.
As I lay there on the grass, the darkness of “totality” was quick. It was shocking how dark it got, and I could hear the gasps of surprise from the hundreds of people around me. The most incredible thing was not the eclipse itself, or even the darkness, but the response from the natural world around us. As the sky went dark, the birds and bugs went absolutely bananas, making all the noises of nightfall. It was not just normal nighttime loud—it came on like a roar, all the natural things responding to this unique event.
Isn’t that interesting? The focus was a visual event, but because we couldn’t see it safely, instead, we had to pay attention to the awesomeness of everything around it, echoing how they were affected by the event.
In the time since the eclipse, I’ve felt foolish about my pooh-pooh attitude toward the whole thing. But as he does any time we don’t meet a moment with the right attitude, God has used that experience to teach me. One, to check my gratitude, and two, to show me how he doesn’t just show up in ways we can (or should) directly see. Sometimes, we only get to witness his awesomeness by paying attention to other signs.
Here are just a few of my own real-life examples:
- I can’t look directly at this pandemic and see the good in it. However, I can see how it has prompted several family members and friends to quit jobs, change careers, and take risks that have benefited their lives in immeasurable ways. I can see how people have been forced to pause and reevaluate their lives.
For more examples, link to the full post here…