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Volume 38, No. 8

4/18/24 | Newsletter

Unity in the Eclipse -

On Sunday, I mentioned a journal entry I wrote on the day of the eclipse. Many of you have asked for a copy of it, so here it is below. May this rare moment of unity come again, sooner rather than later.

All my love,

Today on April 8, 2024, Matt and I along with Leslie went to Flag Pole Hill to watch the solar eclipse. We sat in lawn chairs and ate wheat thins and drank white wine. …People were everywhere. On golf carts, on bikes, on picnic blankets. There were dogs and babies and photographers with cameras. In all the years we’ve lived near this place I’ve never seen so many people gather here. Matt got on his phone because Ruthie’s kindergarten teacher was hosting a livestream where we could see all the kids, including our own, on the White Rock Elementary school playground. Here we all were…physically and virtually anticipating a moment I was sure would be anticlimactic. The sky was, after all, pretty overcast, which reminds me of the several years I’ve preached at Easter sunrise services when it rained. Nature rarely cooperates. But, she does surprise. And wow, was I surprised.

The clouds parted just in time for the sun to light every part of the field. And with our glasses strapped to our faces we all looked up, totality they said was drawing near. Is that really the moon I wondered, casting a crescent sun? Is that the sun now taking its turn learning the phases of the moon? Will it, too, disappear and when it does will we call it new?

Then sure enough. The sun hid itself behind its counterpart and the earth darkened. All became so still and there was total silence, at least in my memory, but it could have been just a silence in my soul. One by one I watched as the street lights on Lanshire came on. Has that ever happened at 1:40 in the afternoon in the middle of spring? Surely not.

I cried, because it’s what I do when I’m in awe. Leslie said, isn’t creation amazing? And we put our arms around each other. This friend who I call sister, which confuses my children because they wonder why her children aren’t their cousins.

Then there was applause. Across the field — but I felt it across divisions and across political spectrums and across hate and then across our phones where I watched the children of White Rock Elementary screaming for joy as they jumped and hugged and cartwheeled in total outdoor darkness in the middle of a school day. What a wonder.

I’ve never been able to let a good thing go. I spent the first minute in awe and the next three anxiously awaiting what I knew would end. Thinking of course that I’ll probably never see this again in my lifetime unless maybe we could make it to Montana in 2044 where they say it will come again. Perhaps I’ll write another note then. Then, when I’ll be 57.

Thank you, God. Today I felt in total awe and though it lasted for just a moment, it gave me hope that perhaps we’ll all unite in applause again — this time for ourselves and the world we finally made new.