Solar Eclipse 2017

The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 passed just north of us. Our city got 99% of it, but we wanted to get into the zone of totality. We drove an hour north and camped for two days prior on a lot belonging to some long time friends where they are building a cabin. It sits right on the river in a beautiful mountain valley. My mom’s birthday was on the 21st so we made it into a mini family reunion as well, although we didn’t have everybody. Knowing that the sun and moon would align to celebrate her day was something we did not want to miss!

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{The first night I woke up to the worst sound I’ve ever heard, the sound of a child vomiting in the tent. That was fun. Although I don’t want this post to be about that, I want it to be about the eclipse, but yeah, ewwwww.. }

I heard on a clip from The Today Show an astronomer and eclipse chaser say that to see the eclipse at 99% is about a 4 out of 10, but to see an eclipse at totality is like 1 million  out of 10. He also said that it was the most spiritual experience he’s ever had. “Which is saying something,” he said, “coming from a scientist.” So I just had to go see what this spiritual experience was all about.

I feel like the camping built our excitement and anticipation leading up to the eclipse and really added to the experience. We sacrificed to see it, not just going out our front door. We packed and prepared and got there in advance to be ready.

As the day arrived we had a big breakfast combined with all the families that were camping on the lot. The glasses were pulled out, the chairs set in perfect viewing position. As the moon started to cross our eagerness grew. We watched the shadows turn crescent shaped across the dirt, a spectacle we were watching for but was still extremely exhilarating to see with our own eyes. The light was getting eerily dimmer. It is hard to describe the light, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. Our sweet host said it really was amazing to experience this with all of the senses. The light changing, the temperature dropping, the crickets coming out to chirp, the horizon acting as if the sun was setting, the shadows dancing, the colors fading. It was an all encompassing experience that pictures cannot do justice.

As the moon got closer and closer to eclipsing the sun it seemed to speed up, our eyes were glued to that thin line of the sun that became thinner and smaller. My heart began to race and the anticipation compounded in a way that surprised me, it was just the sun, I’ve seen the sun every day of my life, right? Cheers and whoops turned to screams and shouts throughout the group, a chorus of celebration at how shockingly miraculous this sight was. The moon finally covered the sun and burst into a ring of spectacular flares, like delicate wings fluttering out from a crown of glory. The surrounding ambient light suddenly disappeared. Up until full eclipse it was still somewhat light out, and then as if a flip was switched it turned as dark as just after dusk, the stars came out, Mercury and Venus were visible. The deep blue of the sky was a velvet curtain giving the star performer its due show. Tears streamed down my cheeks and my heart swelled as I stared at what is the most spectacular sight I’ve ever beheld, we hugged, I snapped a couple shots but really just wanted to soak it in and stare rather than fiddle with my camera. Planes were flying overhead and someone nearby set of fireworks, or gunshots, I couldn’t tell which. The air was rich with excitement.

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We should be used to seeing the miracles of God’s creations around us, but maybe that’s the problem, we’re too used to it. To see something out of the ordinary really shows us how amazing God’s power really is. I not only saw His power but I felt it, I felt him reach into my soul and tell me that everything is going to be ok and to trust Him. I felt that all of the earth, universe and heavens are in His hands, and if that’s true, why would I not trust Him? Why is it so hard sometimes? Why does it feel that He is too far away to care or isn’t listening? But in that moment, I knew that He is closer than we know, He knows our hearts and our dearest longings, our fears and our doubts. He loves us completely and we cannot fathom the worth of His creations, the sun, moon, stars, earth. As awe-inspiring as these creations were that day, though, they are made for us, His greatest creations, to provide the possibility of life on the earth. Each and every one of His children is eternally just as miraculous and more so than this eclipse. Astronomers can do the calculations and tell us when these events are going to happen, they may say it’s all math and physics that creates this wonder. But it is God who created each of these elements and placed them in their orbits, determining their size and their distance from each other. How likely is it that the moon that is so much smaller than the sun is at the exact distance away from it and the earth to line up perfectly with the sun to eclipse it just right?

The fact that all three, sun, moon and stars came together and were visible at the same time is symbolic of the glory of God and the eternal glory that awaits us if we stay true to Him, staying on the path that leads back to Him. As we stay in this path, this “path of totality” by turning our hearts over to Him and being willing to submit our will to His, we put ourselves where the greatest blessings await us. The sun, moon and stars have also been used symbolically to represent the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And just as at Christ’s baptism, all three were present in that moment. God’s hand of power was revealed, Christ’s crown of glory was depicted in that fiery ring and the Spirit of the Holy Ghost was poured out, filling the hearts of all those watching and prepared for that moment, united in the same cause. The veil to the other side felt thin, heaven felt near.

The only other experience I can compare this one to is giving birth to my child who is now 8. I had a scheduled c-section which I was disappointed about, but was able to find peace as I focused on his health and safety. I now feel blessed that I was able to lay on the table and think on spiritual things and on my overwhelming excitement to be a mother. The building anticipation as his birth neared, the overpowering emotion as I saw his face for the first time, the solid foundation of knowledge that God had not left me, the sensitive feeling that the veil was thin and that my ancestors had escorted him to earth and were there celebrating with us. The outpouring of joy, peace, love, all the goodness of the world wrapped up and stuffed in one room. The rush of adrenaline that is addicting, making me feel on that day that I could not wait to do it over and over again. The confirmation that I was where I needed to be, doing what I needed to be doing. These feelings found me again on the day of eclipse and I can’t wait to see it again.

In these turbulent times across the world, with all of the differences, hate, violence, wars that are happening, it seemed as if this eclipse was a sign. A sign of love, a sign of hope, a white flag of peace. A sign that the Captain is at the helm, He is in charge and will lead us home.

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