While my husband got to eat moon pies and join in an impromptu eclipse party with our fun neighbors, complete with solar glasses all around, I slipped outside my office with a few co-workers to gaze up at the sky at precisely 2:39 p.m.
As each of us stepped outside, one at a time, donned our passed-around pair of glasses, and looked up, we all had the same response.
There were no words for what we saw.
Our special NASA glasses made the world totally black. But when we aimed our eyes upward, a tiny sliver of yellow peeked out from behind an inky round ball.
In the middle of the day, crickets chirped their beautiful night melodies. Somehow they knew.
I’d read all about the eclipse in preparation. But something surprised me: it wasn’t all that dark.
We stood about 80 miles outside of the 70 mile swath called the Path of Totality. The sun was 97% covered, yet it was still light. The shadows were longer, and the sky had darkened the way it does just before a big afternoon thunderstorm. Yet we could see each other just fine.
I’d expected it to be dusky, maybe for the automatic lights to flicker on. My husband the engineer told me that illustrates how bright the sun really is. With only 3% showing–a miniscule fraction of its fiery surface, it still illuminated everything. Just like the impact one small flickering candle can make in a dark world.
On the news at night, I watched the thrill of crowds gathered across the country, in awe of the beauty of creation. They cheered. Some cried. All seemed moved.
It made me think of the majesty of the Creator and wonder if others did, too. A passage in the Book of Psalms came to mind.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork. Day after day it speaks out; night after night it reveals his greatness. There is no actual speech or word, nor is its voice literally heard. Yet its voice echoes throughout the earth; its words carry to the distant horizon. In the sky he has pitched a tent for the sun. Like a bridegroom it emerges from its chamber; like a strong man it enjoys running its course. It emerges from the distant horizon, and goes from one end of the sky to the other; nothing can escape its heat.”
Eric Metaxas thought of that verse as well. He writes:
“Three thousand years ago a man in Israel wrote: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’ That man didn’t have a telescope or a Brittanica, but he saw something many of us today still do not see. He saw a God behind it all.”
“It may be true that seeing a Grand Designer behind these breath-taking events requires what we call a leap of faith; but it may also be true that seeing mere coincidence behind them requires an even greater leap of faith. In my mind, much greater.”
What did you see when you looked at the sky?
I love that in the midst of all the ugly news, our country spent one day of this year looking up, marveling at creation, and even if some do not acknowledge a Creator, they still received the blessing of this heavenly declaration. Psalm 19 seems a little more precious in retrospect.
So true, Michele. I love that, too!