On August 21, 2017, we experienced “The Great American Eclipse.” Fourteen states throughout middle America were included in a 70-mile-wide path called the path of totality. It was only in this path that one would be able to see a “total” eclipse of the sun. Where I live, in Knoxville Tennessee, we were getting something like 98% totality, so it was still pretty exciting.
I left work early so that I could get home about an hour before the time that totality was estimated to occur. My 5-year-old had his eclipse glasses, my 2-year-old was fascinated with the shadow box that she (we) made, and we did everything we could to make sure we were equipped to see the big event.
We gathered out to our deck, which had a perfect unobstructed view, and we waited. You could just feel the excitement mount as the sky began to darken, and you could sense that something amazing was about to happen.
And then, as the moon traveled those last few inches across the face of the fiery ball, it finally happened. Totality.
At that moment, I found myself being overwhelmed. Not by the majesty of the mighty eclipse, but by the fact that I couldn’t decide what to look at. Should I focus on watching the moon cross the sun, or should I look at how the day had suddenly turned to night at 2:36 pm? Should I take in the fact that the temperature had dropped, and the crickets started to chirp? Or should I observe my wife and kids and their expressions as they each were having their own experience? For a moment, it’s like I was short-circuiting and couldn’t focus on any single part of the event because I was trying to take it all in.
And then, just as quickly as it started, the moon revealed the light of the sun, and it was over. And I found myself being consumed with an almost sadness because I felt like I had missed it. I was so busy trying to take in everything that was happening, that I couldn’t truly experience any one part of it.
And I think that this is sometimes how I live life. There are so many different moving parts to life that I want to pay attention to, but it prevents me from being fully present in any one aspect. My attentions are divided continuously between my marriage, my kids, my work, our finances, our future, our schedule, my health…I mean, how can I possibly shut it all down long enough to be fully dialed into any one thing? Where do I focus?
The thing that helps me is to remember that God wants us to keep our eyes on Him… our thoughts on Him… and He’ll help us navigate through all the other stuff.
Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 14 talks about Peter getting out of the boat to walk on water to meet Jesus. When he sees the wind and the waves, he gets consumed with fear and begins to sink, but Jesus reaches out to save him and simply says “why did you doubt?” (30-31).
Author: Dave Lucido