The day of the eclipse — feeling small made my heart feel big

Today is the big day – the eclipse. While I’m a little sad I’m not going to be standing in the path of totality, I feel a certain grateful familiarity with the experience because it was just a few years ago we did just that.

Here in York, we stood in the path of totality. It was such an incredible moment – one I will never forget.

So today, as millions will witness what we saw, I remember how I felt on that incredible day:


So much to do.

So many places to be.

Such a packed schedule.

So many things to remember.

Too many, too much, too many, too much . . .

Isn’t that how life gets to feeling? Like we’re hamsters in a cage, running on a wheel that only we can power?

Doesn’t it get to feeling sometimes that if we stop running and stop checking off the lists and stop everything . . . well, the world will stop?

Fortunately, on Monday, I felt that for just a little bit of time, just a little moment, we got to let the world stop for just a little bit.

Just a little bit.

We got to feel small.

I loved the way people gathered outside with their friends, family and co-workers and just stopped . . . some for the morning, some for an hour, some for just a few minutes.

I loved hearing about the beauty of Nebraska from people who had never been here before. They informed me how the place we all take for granted is actually beautiful and interesting.

Did you know that we have beautiful sunsets and sunrises? That’s what the big-city folk say, anyway. If you haven’t noticed, they are pretty amazing, the metro-dwellers said, with some noting it had been years since they saw a real sunset or drank coffee while marveling at the big orange ball in the east. But they could do that here.

Did you know that corn is interesting? Well, yes, it is. At least that’s what a number of people said, noting they made sure to stop along fields and grab pictures with the tall stalks. Nebraska corn in selfies . . . who would have thought?

As we heard people talk about what our neck of the woods looks like, if you take the time to notice . . . well, I thought maybe I should do the same.

You know what? Our sunrises and sunsets are beautiful. The corn is something to see at this time of year.

The big picture of our world made me feel small . . . and I liked it.

When it came to the eclipse, which is why all those people were here as they took the time to stop and relish the moment . . . I got some time to do the same as well.

For about an hour, I didn’t care about anything else. I didn’t think about my calendar or the pending work that had to be done. My anxiety regarding lists and requirements and appointments and tasks and responsibilities suddenly washed away. I was a small speck in a great big world and feeling insignificant never felt so good.

We were all just people . . . people from all over the world . . . gathered to see a natural phenomenon that none of us could control, no matter how smart or rich or powerful or busy we might think we are.

Yes, this was a tightly scheduled event . . . but on a timeline that only God controlled while scientists watched.

When the actual eclipse happened, I marveled at how far away the moon and the sun were . . . yet so close that we felt like part of their movement. I was just one of millions with my eyes toward the sky and it was thrilling.

Didn’t you love how the sky changed colors and the air felt weird and the birds disappeared and everything fell quiet? It was 1 p.m., on a Monday . . . and I couldn’t have cared less about what had to be done in the real world. For those two beautiful minutes, watching our environment change right before us was the only thing to care about.

I loved the “oohs and aahs” coming from the groups of strangers and hearing myself exclaim that something was awesome when my daily view is normally mundane.

When the moon began to move away and we were surrounded in that 360-degree “sunrise,” I felt like dust in the wind and my soul was light as a feather. Sounds corny, I know, but I did.

“Makes you feel pretty small, doesn’t it?” someone close to me said. “Pretty small.”

Yes, it did. Feeling small like that made my heart feel big.


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