How the Eclipse Created a United (States of) America
On Monday August 21st, our country experienced what scientists are calling the most viewed celestial event in our history. For the first time in 99 years, the solar eclipse spanned the entirety of our country. From coast to coast, people gathered in record numbers to stop for a couple of hours and gaze upward.
People came equipped with their eclipse glasses and lists of things to observe once the sun and moon began their show. They smiled and waved excitedly and shouted for joy as the shadow of darkness fell in the middle of broad daylight. Some stood speechless, while others let tears fall freely from a place of emotion they couldn’t explain.
Any bitterness or hate about the current state of our country was replaced with awe and wonder over an experience that proved to be transcendental in every way.
For a day, the fighting and riots spreading like wildfire throughout our country were extinguished. For 24 hours the news marveled over the stars and moon of our earth instead of all the violence and hate within it. People traveled alongside each other to the path of totality and once arrived, sat side by side anticipating the once in a lifetime event.
Race? Political party? Social status? All moot points. For one beautiful day in 2017, we as a country stopped pointing fingers at each other, and pointed them upwards instead.
The Universe Restores our Hope
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of work, family, and heavily heated politics. The alt-right and alt-left are at war with each other and those caught in between the two camps are flailing wildly to come up for air.
Our president, media, friends, and families are all at odds with each other in a societal nightmare that has erupted from years of misunderstandings and un-forgiveness. When browsing social media or flipping through news channels we can quickly get overwhelmed by negativity and a sense of doom.
The universe, however, is vast and glorious and God in His wonder and awe uses it to remind us that this is His creation and we are His people. This is His earth and He will not allow it to be swallowed by evil.
There is too much good in it.
When we look to the heavens we are reminded that regardless of our color or political beliefs, our past grievances and current situations, we have a present and a future ahead of us and they are full of possibility.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1
We Were Created for Each Other
Minutes before totality, I looked around and noticed the magical lighting that fell upon the earth and the effect that it had on the family and friends I was with.
We gravitated toward each other and kept reaching out for one another. I didn’t even realize at the time that it was as if we were being brought closer and closer together through a gravitational pull. Did you feel it?
I had several friends travel to various spots in North Georgia where they joined massive groups to witness the total eclipse. Afterwards they explained how once strangers, they were instantly friends with these people they knew nothing about.
Similar stories came out of every state the moon’s shadow fell. All very different in our own ways, we were completely united in this seemingly surreal moment.
America the Beautiful
Scientists at NASA say that in the future we will no longer be privy to total solar eclipses from earth. Due to the moon’s orbit slowly increasing, they predict that eventually it will be too far away to cover the sun entirely.
While partial eclipses will still be visible, the incredible and awe inducing totality will no longer be witnessed in the distant future.
Think about how blessed we are to be in the perfect spot, at the perfect time in this universe. We have been placed in this very position for a reason and allowed to not only witness, but partake in this world at one of the greatest times in its history.
How timely that during such a period of strife in our country, this celestial phenomenon would be dubbed “The Great American Eclipse”. An event which normally occurs simultaneously in multiple countries, but on this particular day, took place only in our great nation. Coincidence?
A Sign of the Times
Historically when hearing the phrase “It’s a sign of the times!” people, Christians in particular, have shuddered, fearing the worst. But what if God is sending us signs of hope, not condemnation? What if He is reaching through this great expanse to restore to us the desire for brotherhood and unity, that we might become more united in Him?
Anyone who witnessed the total eclipse that Monday was moved. It was a soul-stirring event that no other man-made event on this earth can replicate. It was an event — a sign — that spoke to us and let us know that there is more to this universe than just us.
This beautiful and miraculous place that we are so fortunate to call home, it’s passing. We will not always be here in it — and neither will it — but we will always be one body.
One body in Christ.
Cassi Villanueva is a freelance writer and contributing blogger at Catholic Singles. Born and raised in the south, when she's not writing, she can be found spending time with her husband and four children in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, GA.