|A "free hand" time lapse of the creation of the Richmond eclipse banana by|
my dear friend and colleague, Jeremy Cannada. This photo was captured
on Monday in Richmond, Virginia between 1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m. EDT.
“I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth…” Joel 2
I tried to be the cool kid this past Monday—you know, the dude who wasn’t going to be impressed by the eclipse.
I mean, come on. I saw one in ’92. Chances are, I’ll see one again in 2024 when I’ll be 39.
Also, the Lincoln area would only see a 90% eclipse… not even the full thing. So what was the point?
I had better things to do. Really, I tried to be the cool kid….
But I failed. I failed miserably.
About 1:00 p.m. I got a text from a friend asking me if I was outside. Trusting her judgment, I went home, pulled the shades down in all the rooms (so the pups wouldn’t look into the sun) and went out to my patio.
Initially, I was a bit disappointed because the storm clouds were rolling in, preventing clear skies, and blocking a clear viewing of our partial eclipse.
As I stood texting my friend back, with my head bowed down to the glow of the phone, I felt it:
I felt the world go still.
I heard the birds go silent.
I watched my shadow disappear.
It became something… special.
As the moon sashayed in front of the sun for but a couple hundred seconds, I felt small. There was something happening that no one can control. We were all part of something greater—much greater—than any of us. The universe danced and played this past Monday, and we were fortunate to watch.
Standing in the stillness and silence, I couldn’t help but think of our ancestors in faith and what such an event must have meant to them. Was this pause in time and sound what Moses experienced as he stood before the burning bush or on the mountain receiving the Torah? When Elijah was in the cave did he feel the same awe and wonder I experienced while the eclipse was at its peak? Could have an event like an eclipse been what inspired the psalmist to write prose about the splendor of creation and the profundity of our being?
I can’t speak for them, but I will speak to my own experience; I cried. As I watched the shadow disappear, it felt as though a oneness between myself and the world was born. At that very moment, as I stood alone in the confines of my home, gone was the false self, and for an instant of my life, my only awareness was the existence with which God gifted me—myself.
If I have lost you with the talk of false self versus true self, I apologize. What I intend to communicate is this: in that moment of total eclipse, my heart felt the totality of God’s love. As I witnessed the universe move at its own speed, there was an assurance warming my heart and a promise shading my despair. In all of this, the Creator of the Universe, the one in whose image and likeness I am created, was, is and shall be a part of it all.
So no, I didn’t actually “see” the eclipse because
1. I didn’t have the sunglasses and chose to listen to the expert advice that suggested not looking up without them, and
2. There are times when we can’t see God… but can only feel Her.
It has been my experience that the times when I’m most reluctant to welcome something greater than myself, that’s when I most needed God’s presence… like on Monday, when I wasn’t going to sing that annoying “Total Eclipse of the Heart” song, nor was I going to write a blog post about the imaginative nature of the Divine Dance.
But here I am. I’m still contemplating the absence of light in the middle of the day—an event that had geese flying in circles, wolves howling at noon, and many of us pondering the vast mystery of the universe…and our faith.
So though I wasn’t being kitschy by singing Bonnie Tyler’s hit, another song did come to mind, and it is a childhood classic:
God’s got the whole world, in Her hands.
She’s got the whole wide world, in Her hands.
And this, friends… this is our invitation to forget any vain cares and enter into our own hearts, which God has set aside to be God’s paradise and our own. God’s not only got the whole world (or sun, or moon, or stars, or space…) in His hands, but he also has you.
Rest in that celestial good news, trusting the Divine Dance will continue to woo creation—and us—into being!