By Jim Segaar
Today was the Great American Solar Eclipse. I think that’s what CNN called it. Seems odd to nationalize a natural phenomenon like an eclipse, but whatever.
My sister, who lives in Minneapolis, drove with her husband, daughter, and son-in-law to St. Joseph, Missouri to witness the eclipse. It was cloudy and rainy, and they weren’t sure if they would see it. It was a cloudy, rainy day, and they weren’t sure what they would see. Here’s her text message to me:
“It got progressively more dusky. Just before complete occlusion there was a sunset along the horizons all around and with completion it was like a dark cone came down over us. Then it was as if God reached down and opened a window in the clouds and we saw the complete eclipse with the golden corona encircling it for just a few seconds and then it closed. Then we saw sunrise on the western horizon and sunset on the eastern horizon and gradually the dark cone lifted and it was light.”
Pretty dramatic stuff.
We watched a video of people in Oregon watching the eclipse, and the shouting, hooting, and “wow”ing made it evident that they had a tremendous experience.
Meanwhile we were in Methow Valley working on our little house in the meadow. Jim G continued running electrical circuits, and I kept putting on siding. We paused in our work at 10:15 a.m. to see what we could see, which wasn’t much. We hadn’t thought to get eclipse glasses, and watching through a digital camera wasn’t all that great. It didn’t get darker at all as far as we could tell, but did get cooler.
And now it is nighttime, 10 hours later. I just talked to my sister. They are sitting on a freeway in Iowa, creeping back home through road construction and heavy traffic. They would stop somewhere but my niece starts a new job in the morning. They’re not having fun.
Here in Methow night has fallen. The stars are coming out. The Big Dipper is bright tonight – the summer smoke must have cleared. The night noises – crickets etc. – are everywhere, and very few mosquitoes are about. Basically, it’s a lovely evening to look back on a productive day of work on our house.
It all reminds me of a quote from the gospel according to John – 10.16. “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” My interpretation of this text is something like “Chill out! I know other people who are not like you, who live in very different places, but they still are good people. They matter too. We are not all the same! Our experiences are not the same!”
It’s easy to assume that some experiences are life-changing for any human. Seeing a complete solar eclipse. Building a house in an earthly paradise. But as the song goes, “it ain’t necessarily so.” We are different people. We experience things differently. Our days are filled with different priorities and activities.
Today was a fantastic day. My sister (and millions of others) saw a total solar eclipse. I got quite a bit of siding put onto our house, and tonight the stars and crickets are sheer heaven. Fantastic, but very different. May it always be so.
This blog includes thoughts from various contributors at Seattle First Baptist