“I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” Psalm 143:5
In August 2017, I had the privilege of watching the solar eclipse with some sweet friends at work. I almost missed it, but a colleague came into my office, told me she had an extra pair of glasses and to come join her and her kids outside.
I thanked her, but also explained to her that I remembered being in my 5th grade classroom, making some type of cardboard viewer to watch the much anticipated 1979 eclipse and how when it finally came time to see it, I was really disappointed. I don’t remember if it was too cloudy that day or if we lived in an area where the viewing wasn’t great, but it wasn’t a day marked in my memory as anything super awesome. In fact, it was more a memory of high expectation met by a little bit of mehhh.
I tend to do that sometimes.
So my friend, who was once a science teacher, said, “You come to the playground with me at 2:30 and I will make sure you see it.”
I found a crowd on the playground and walked towards my friend. She was sitting on a bench next to her young son and as I approached, I could see that he was somewhat despondent. He had been eagerly awaiting this moment and now the sun was nowhere to be found. Clouds were dominating the sky and we all just looked at each other, wondering if this would be our 2017 eclipse experience.
We walked up the sidewalk to the parking lot and my friend stopped, her gaze towards the clouds. She hesitated and said, “I think these clouds might part any second.” Some other friends and their children gathered and we all started wearing our glasses, starting at the sky with a hope we didn’t want to lose.
All of a sudden, those clouds opened like a curtain and we could see the sun through our lenses. And that’s when I heard it. Shouts and screams of joy from the little children around me as it began to register that they were seeing the eclipse. And then I could hear my own voice too, woohooing with joy as 38 years later, I finally understood what all of the hoopla was about. I was seeing the eclipse.
It wasn’t so much the sliver of the sun that winked at me on an August afternoon. For while that was historic and amazing, what I was most aware of was hearing those shouts of joy surrounding me. To be next to my friend’s son, whose joy was beyond measure was such a gift. He almost didn’t get to see it, but somehow, in a moment of grace, we all got to experience it together.
If you were on Instagram that day, you most likely saw hundreds of posts about how amazing and beautiful and powerful it was to witness this solar eclipse. I saw some posts of people screaming and describing the moment as life-changing. That they would never be the same. And yes, that might be true, but scroll through today and those same pictures and videos are lost in our feeds and we have moved on to the next big thing. How often does this miraculous event even register in my minds?
When we experience moments of joy or healing or wisdom in our lives, what does that look like a month later? Or six months? Or in this case, almost two years?
I think it looks like remembering.
Because in the crazy pace of this life, we have to help each other remember the beauty and mystery and joy. We need to take the time to be still and reflect and consider what the Lord has done. In this Lenten season, it feels important to remind each other of this truth. We might feel overwhelmed today or discouraged. Some of us might even feel hopeless and depressed. We need each other. We need to remind each other of times when God has been faithful and provided beyond what we could have imagined. Even if today feels really hard, can you take a moment to write a list of all the ways the Lord has been faithful to you along the way? As we approach the cross and remember the sacrifice the Lord made by giving up His life so that we might be free, may it make a difference. May it bring us hope and freedom and allow us to trust Him with all we are carrying.