Yesterday was the day of a total solar eclipse, stretching from the West Coast in Oregon diagonally across America like a solar sash to South Carolina. There has been much discussion about it, much excitement and to some extent much hype.
Unfortunately, my location in the Mid-Atlantic didn't afford me a good location to see the eclipse. We had a lot of cloud cover. Although during the appointed time when we should've experienced about 80% of the eclipse, the sky darkened and there was an odd glow about it.
I have been thinking about the eclipse and word's definition. Astronomy aside, eclipse also means "a reduction or loss of splendor, status, reputation," etc. (noun) or "deprive (someone or something) of significance, power, or prominence" (verb). It also means "to cause to undergo eclipse".
Got me thinking about the things that seem to eclipse me: fear, anxiety, bitterness, disappointment. These are the things that block me from experiencing life and all its glory, joy and beauty and these are the things that I allow to deprive me from being the person I was created to be.
Do you ever feel eclipsed? Have you ever felt a loss of significance, power or prominence? Do you ever feel that you have been deprived?
With all the safety warnings of not looking at the sun, I was reminded of the Greek myth of Icarus who flew too close to the sun with his wax and feather flying contraption. Icarus was instructed by his father to stay on the flight path: to fly not too close to the sea and not too close to the sun. Icarus in his giddiness to fly, did not heed his father's warnings and had a fatal accident when he ascended too high and the heat of the sun melted his wax causing him to fatally fall. The warning of the myth is to avoid complacency and hubris.
What is surprising to me is that in the eclipse video feeds of the places that received totality, that even though it was getting darker, when there was only just a sliver of sunlight showing, there was still light to see. Even with impeding darkness, the sun's rays are powerful enough to shed some light in even the smallest of areas.
It gives me hope that although I may be deprived of living the way I should be, there is still a chance that I can get it right. I can choose whether I will allow those feelings of fear, anxiety, bitterness and disappointment to dominate my thinking and my life. I can choose not to allow hubris to dictate my thoughts: to choose to not think of myself more highly than I really am. For after all, when I am fearful or anxious it is because deep down I think I can control every outcome. When I a bitter or disappointed it is because I think I deserve better. It is all arrogance and pride on my part.
The eclipse reminds me that even though the sun might not be seen for a time, it is still there behind the moon and will shine again soon. I may have things blocking and depriving me a life free of worries but it doesn't always have to be. The sun reminds me of God's promises that He is in control and is always there. When I get anxious (and lately, I have been anxious about many uncontrollable things) I have to remind myself that God is still there, He is in control, He has taken care of things in the past and will do so in the future. I need to recognize my frailty and humanness and give over to His sovereignty.
What about you? Did you watch the eclipse yesterday? What was your reaction? Do you ever feel that things in life are "eclipsing" you? What are they? What do you do to "be safe" during those times?
The sun reminds me that when I put things in its proper place- humbling aligning myself with God- I am free to enjoy the world around me. I am free of fear, anxiety, bitterness and disappointment. The sun reminds me that I do not need to be eclipsed.