Today, August 21, 2020, is the third anniversary of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. I can’t even count all of the times I recall that celestial event that seemed like a momentary glimpse into heaven. During these strange times of pandemic, social unrest, and frequent uncertainty, I can’t help but recall the complete order of the eclipse, and every other event in the skies, some predictable thousands of years before happening. If our Creator is that orderly, I have no doubt that even the chaos of our times is part of a bigger plan, and that mankind has not gone unnoticed or uncared for. I’ve heard so many beautiful stories of personal growth and families and friends bonding together in unprecedented ways in 2020.
Anyway, back to my pondering on the eclipse. For us, it was a double bonus. I wrote about this in 2017 and have decided to share our experience in this blog. Since then, memories of that incredible day have faded a bit and are thought-about less often, but the powerful spiritual resonance in my soul is certainly as real and in awe as it was that very day. Here are thoughts I shared in an article then.
Love eclipses eclipse (2017)
I’ve so enjoyed the many articles, commentaries, and social media posts shared about our August 21steclipse. With all of the topics of contention in life today, there seems to be one thing all agree upon; the 2017 total eclipse of the sun was just great, wondrous, divine, spectacular, amazing, surreal, or any number of other inadequate adjectives. No matter our age, gender, race, political persuasion, social ranking, or financial status, we were all one, looking up from rooftops, yards, boats, parking lots, mountain peaks, or side of the road. Whether we watched in silence, cheered, gasped, or had tears running down our faces, the moments of totality will never be forgotten.
With my parents and brothers together in Douglas, we were lucky enough to have all of our children (and pets) home in Casper for the festivities. They hailed from Colorado and Utah, bringing others with them. In fact, our son-in-law’s client from Colorado with wife, 9-year-old twins, and in-laws from Kalispell, Montana popped up tents in the back yard. Strangers became friends quickly and helped decorate dozens of eclipse sugar cookies I’d made to celebrate. The little six-pointed star shapes may have looked more like sunflowers than celestial orbs, but we had a tasty great time.
In my pre and post-eclipse surveys of family, friends, and patients, almost everyone hosted house guests and, or, campers. Even a little 97-year-old lady had a bunch from New York and California – some friends of a friend of a friend deal. She stuck with bed and “no” breakfast, but there were plenty of places for them to grab food.
Speaking of a bite to eat, I’ve heard nothing but kudos for the Casper people who organized the Eclipse Festival — chock full of music, food, and so much more. Wow. Our kids who braved the weekend crowds downtown had a great time, saying it was like a big happy class reunion, but with everyone, you’ve ever known. We braved David Street Station after the eclipse enjoying music and a late lunch during the waning crowd, which is more my style.
Monday, eclipse morning, our fun-loving guests donned silly homemade tin foil caps and hiked off to a field not far from here. Our family began watching the eclipse from the deck but climbed a ladder to the roof before totality. Bridget’s boyfriend’s camera setup sat perfectly on the chimney. Tom has always told me the view up there was spectacular when he cleans gutters and fiddles with the swamp cooler. Though I believed him, in 34 years I was never tempted to check for myself — until the eclipse. I love it.
We waved at people on other roofs when we had our eclipse glasses off and tried to remember all of the special effects we were supposed to notice in such a tiny time, not that it was hard to notice the darkness and temperature plunge. With a 360-degree sunset, crescent shadows, animal behaviors, and deciding exactly when it was safe to take off the glasses. I had a little too much on my mind. Do we take pictures or just enjoy? Was the dog barking from the deck because of the phenomenon or because she didn’t get to join us on the roof? Was that big black bird flying wildly from the tree going to knock David off balance, and off the roof?
Suddenly the moment of totality was really there after all of the waiting, in a splendor that surpassed our imaginations. It was all we could have hoped for and more! The tiniest glimpse of heaven. As random as nature can seem, we were all in soul-stirring awe of the divine exactness that “eclipses” anything mankind can create.
We experienced another totality that day. One I had secretly longed for. About 20 years ago a family lived across the street. During some difficulties, we kept two of the young children for a while until a grandmother in another state arranged for them to stay with her. With years of their comings and goings, keeping in touch wasn’t possible. The last time I saw little Robyn, she had said to me that someday when she grew up she would find me again. I’ve always prayed that she would, and of all things, she and her younger brother showed up on our doorstep shortly after the eclipse began. There we were, with our family from near and far, gathered together to welcome them as if planned. They joined us on the roof for the total eclipse of the sun. What could be more beautiful than to view the stunning, sparkling moments as we were also experiencing a totality of love that never ended and came back around full circle.
In the three years since that time Robyn and I have been able to stay in touch via social media. I am still in awe of the total eclipse of the sun, and the love-filled reunion with Robyn still eclipses that exquisite sparkling solar eclipse!
1 Peter 4:8 – “Above all, love each other deeply …”
Psalm 100:5 – “God’s love is eternal and his faithfulness lasts forever.”