Like much of America on Monday, I was awash in a world that was talking about the solar eclipse, as the moon stepped in front of the sun like a rude person at the checkout line who either doesn’t see you or doesn’t care.
That was a pretty cynical comparison, right? We all slip into it now and then…cynicism, I mean. What is happening to this world? What is going on with people? Things are just awful!
We all have days where we doubt humanity. If you don’t, bravo. I want to be more like you. I try very hard to be, but I’m not fully there yet, I admit.
But sometimes just a tiny little thing can turn that around.
There were lots of fun moments to be had as I saw people’s jokes and funny satire on social media, but I had no intention of actually watching the event itself. Stores, library, and the like were all out of the special glasses, I was working, and there wasn’t even a box around to make a pinhole viewer if I wanted to. Unprepared was I.
But once the eclipse began, I decided to go for a little walk out of my work office. I couldn’t look up to the sky (unless I wanted to burn my retinas), but maybe I’d be able to see if the light outside had changed. Would it look like evening or nighttime?
Where we are, it didn’t get much darker. At best it looked a few hours ahead of what it really was. That late afternoon/early evening light of summer, I suppose. A moment or two later, a young woman from another office on the university campus walked by, asking if I had taken a look and pulled out a pair of special eclipse glasses that she purchased online. She then let me have a look as well.
There it was, well, partial for us, anyway…as the shadow of the moon covered part of the sun.
I thanked her for the chance to take a look, and a few moments later, she shared them with one of the university police officers, who came out to look. Moments later, another officer came by to take a look. Within just a few minutes, a crowd of people from various offices had just sort of congregated at this crossroads we were at, each taking turns to get a glimpse.
When a group of students came by, the glasses were passed to them as this impromptu viewing party grew bigger and bigger.
It didn’t really hit me until I saw the crowds of college students, each one passing the glasses on to the next, looking up to the sky, their faces lighting up with smiles, then talking with each other about what they saw.
Dozens of people who just happened through the same spot, all smiling, all happy, all having a wonderful moment of a community together – thanks to the sun, the moon, and a spirit of generosity that started with one person and spread like the sun’s rays.