Soul-ar Eclipse

“‘Eclipses mess with your understanding of light and darkness,’ both literally and figuratively, Dr. Perrakis says…The day of the eclipse itself may prove disorienting or overwhelming, but, if you’re willing to step back and experience the event for what it is, it just might give way to a major revelation …” by Sara Coughlin in The Great Solar Eclipse is Upon Us–& This is What It Means for You

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A week ago was solar eclipse day in Georgia. I went to my seminary’s eclipse party more as a matter of course, than out of genuine excitement. I just didn’t get the hype.

Then I put on those eclipse glasses and looked up. I grinned. I laughed. I delighted in what I saw.

I marveled at the sun’s and moon’s positions; how much the sun looked like the moon and vice versa. What should be opposites were suddenly exacts.  The sun waned as the moon moved fully into view, yet I could look at the sun clearly for the very first time. It shone with promise.

In the days that followed, it’s as if the solar eclipse caused a “soul”ar eclipse. Pieces of me that I didn’t know existed, and pieces I had long ago forgotten, were revealed. Clandestine longings and hopes passed in front me, like a full moon who only weeks before had been a remote and far-off sliver of possibility. Powerful and confusing feelings encircled me. I longed to know the contours of the form passing so closely in front of my soul’s hollow recesses. But it eluded my grasp, like chocolate that goes untasted.  As I bit my lip in frustration, out of my soul’s inner depths shone bright light. In this light I unexpectedly was seen. This light was me, ripe fruit in hand, poised to offer its sweet nectar to the world.

One week later I am changed. I value myself differently. Self-care habits I have neglected and lamented are part of my routine again. My call, my sense of belonging at Columbia Seminary, my denomination, all the things I questioned so fiercely the past year, no longer rear their heads in consternation. I am braver. I am looking hard truths squarely in the face. I prepare to take the first steps towards greater honesty in my closest relationships.

For having had little personal interest in the eclipse, I now reflect in awe. My mind wanders along a north south axis, anticipating when moon and sun align again.

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“During eclipses, we are asked to understand where in our lives we feel eclipsed. What issues we are harboring that tend to eclipse our ability to heal. What wounds rob us of joy and connection. So that we can bring a little bit more awareness to the work we need to do. So that we can be better agents in the process of the world’s healing. So that we can be better agents in our own healing. ” by Chani Nicholas in Your Affirmation Horoscopes for the Total Solar Eclipse.
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Loudly. Boldly.

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Most people wouldn’t suspect it about me. I swear. A lot. And not just the occasional shit or damn-it, but fully nuked F-bombs.

I’m not proud of the fact that I was called into the pre-school principal’s office because of my son’s mimicry.

Yet neither am I concerned enough not to keep liking the Scary Mommy posts that humorously justify swearing in front of your kids.

And then I saw video footage of the interactions between racist Nazis and human and civil rights activists in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.

Like the rivulets of sweat dripping down the faces of onlookers, barely bridled emotion coursed through tensed muscles and prickled nerves to attention. Angry shouts erupted. Voices from all directions hurled F-bombs on their counterparts.

But fuck was not enough. Anxious hands gripped weapons, fists and bodies grappled each other with the force fuck lacked.

This word is hollow, incapable of bearing the weight of history, fear, and emotion that drowns the deepest recesses of our souls and collective humanity. It mocks the gravity of the situation.

Fuck is not the word we need right now. It is not a word that will break down the walls, statues, and laws that keep justice from rolling like waters across this land.

And just like that I’m a changed mom, choosing my words carefully. Cautious now, in emotional situations, to use words that expose the core and convey the depth of the issues at hand. Not because of some tinny moral imperative not to swear. But in hopes that when justice is at stake, my kids will be able to speak truth to power. Loudly. Boldly. With the force of real change.