What was a memorable event for you this summer? That's what I asked Girl Scouts in 6th-12th grades at our "coming back together" pool party. A remarkable number of them agreed — the eclipse! Regardless of whether they were in Wyoming, like I was experiencing totality, or in their school yard watching the eclipse with their class or at NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) or other special place, the Great American eclipse brought a unique, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime, message to unite many Americans.
- The eclipse brought the USA together. People from all over the country were mesmerized with a natural phenomenon greater than ourselves or politics. It felt good to have the media and individuals focused on something other than the dysfunction in Washington, DC or worldwide.
- It gave us an opportunity, if we took advantage of it, to stop our everyday activities, gaze up at the sky, and see something we can't normally see. Did you pause or did you miss that special chance?
- WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE. During totality, when the moon totally blocked out the sun, you could see the stars in the sky. They are always shining in the middle of the day, but the bright light of the sun blocks you from seeing them. What else in your life is always there, but not visible to you? What are you missing? What can you do to be more aware?
- The eclipse was a spiritual event for me. The term is derived from an Old English word meaning, "whole" and perfect in goodness. It awoke a spirit within and outside of me that is part of the "interconnected web of life." What, if anything, did you feel?
- I traveled to Wyoming for eclipse totality with the Boy Scout Venture Crew of my Unitarian Universalist (UU) church as one of the adult advisors. In planning the trip, we were seeking a place to camp and not having much luck until a lovely and lively 90+ year-old UU woman from Casper offered us her backyard. We received much more than a campsite: we found new friends, interesting conversation, shared meals, and so much more. The next day we viewed the eclipse together with dozens of other fellow UUs from around the country at the UU Church of Casper. People came from CA, UT, FL, IA, CO, MN, WY, and beyond. We were united with a common purpose — to experience this special event. It was wonderful to see so many different churches in Casper open their doors to visitors in a similar way.
The Great American eclipse united the country. It gave hope. It allowed us to pause, see things we can't normally see, reawaken our spirit, and find friendship. Here is an example of good news! Let's look for more of this goodness, which may not always be easy to see, but which is always present.
Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com, www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose, www.RadishSystems.com)
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