There are events in life that fuel our emotions, good or bad. Some events offer great teachings and are embedded into our lives forever. Yesterday’s solar eclipse ranks high on that list of memorable events and offered a window into the past, present and into the future. The window into the past offered this;
In 1918 my mother was 8 years old, growing up in northern New Mexico. She often shared stories of her childhood with us including the viewing of a total eclipse. She experienced that first total eclipse as the small town of Costilla’s population watched in wonder, with no forewarning and preparation. They waited and feared that this eclipse was a prelude to the end of the world. She recalled the wonder and fear of the moon covering the sun entirely. It moved family and neighbors to prayer. This natural wonder surely coincided with the biblical teachings of the Catholic Church and its warning of the world’s end.
Less than 50 years later, that 8-year-old girl, now a mother, watched a partial eclipse with her 11-year-old daughter. We stood in awe and in fear of a partial eclipse in the early 60’s. With no eye protection we both wondered and feared what would follow. With no media to forewarn us, we did not know that we watched a partial eclipse, needed protective eye-wear nor its exact ending.
As more of the moon covered the sun that day in northern New Mexico my mother still wondered if perhaps the world was ending, an ongoing assumption based on strong Catholic faith teachings.
In present day 2017, on Monday, August 21, as I relived that eclipse watch of yesteryear with my family and specifically with my 10-year-old grandson, this time we used protective eye gear and had knowledge related to that event. Yet today’s eclipse seemed less grand, not fearful at all. In retrospect, surely, the difference in a child watching an eclipse in 1918 compared to an adult in 1963 was less stressful. One watching an eclipse in 2017 versus 1963 offered more education and preparedness. Knowledge and preparedness about anything in life always offers comfort and calmness to any situation and is the key to making better decisions.
So today, as I recalled sharing my first partial eclipse with my mom in the little town of Costilla, I concluded that knowledge is power, we have nothing to fear but fear itself, and my faith tells me that God is still the keeper of the universe.
Media reported that the next total solar eclipse will occur in 2045. My grandson Roman will be 38-years-old. Hopefully, he will also conclude that knowledge is king, fear is what you make of that knowledge, and God is still the keeper of the universe.