I spent a morning in anticipation, along with many others, watching the moon cover the sun, until only a bright ring of light was left in the sky, and stars twinkled in the middle of a misty day along the coast. There was a cheer that could be heard throughout the town, as we awestruck observers shared a moment of utter beauty. For some of us, it was a chance to see something that came and went just this once in our lifetime. Check this off our bucket list!
A friend who is dying shared with me that she didn’t really have a bucket lists of things waiting to be done, but she was awaiting whatever experiences were to be had each day, knowing every day is another gift, especially realizing her days are dwindling in this life. There are lessons still to learn. There is love still to share. Her new day is another momentous happening— even without an eclipse to be in awe over.
It’s easy, amid our busyness, to forget that each day has this opportunity right now to experience life. We share this as humans, beginning a new day with new opportunity. There have been other eclipses. There will be again, though not for myself or my friend.
We say that “history repeats itself”: Oh, that we would learn the lessons!
This same week of eclipse hysteria, most of our news broadcasted reports of hatred and bigotry, those age old forces creating wars and human suffering, as history was indeed repeated. It would be nice to forget; but unfortunately reoccurrences serve to remind us again that some human beings awaken and their day is spent hating other people because they are different, making them the scapegoats for everything that is wrong in our world—those who both in history and present day are choosing to destroy peace and life for many. This, too, is a source of awe.
As I experienced a total solar eclipse, I wondered at the fact that the moon and the stars and the sun are the same celestial bodies that humans watched thousands of years before me— and that humans still exist on this earth (though we’ve tried hard to destroy each other).
Today begins a new day, and I am mulling over words that someone else wrote long ago:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
(known as the Peace Prayer or “Prayer of Saint Francis”, often associated with Saint Francis of Assisi)