Photo by AJ Garcia
“Oh, my goodness. It was just indescribable. It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. I mean ever.”
I admit, I turned a little green as I listened to my friend recount her eclipse experience. Her family had driven to a location that put them right in the path of totality. Her view definitely…well, eclipsed my own view from my backyard, during which I cast only brief glances at the sky, and through the trees no less. As far as I was concerned, it could have been an overcast day or the early evening at its peak. Nothing indescribable or amazing over here—unless you count what I saw on television.
Of course, it was my own fault. I didn’t insist we drive hundreds of miles, pre-order viewers for the family, risk the crowds at a university viewing party, participate in an eclipse-focused science class, or even take a pair of scissors to a cereal box. In fact, I spent much of the afternoon in bed, writing and watching God cut a cross-country swath on CBS. Even Think Tank did more than I did by taking a push pin to an empty box of Ritz.
So, that’s what I got for my efforts. But I still cried, “No fair!” “What about me?” “Is it my fault I live on the outskirts so I only get 75% while others get 97.1%?
That seems to be my constant lament these days. What about me, Lord? Did you forget about me? Where’s my healing, my contract, my miracle, my path of totality, my day in the sun?
Do you ever feel that others are experiencing God in a way that you’re not? Their walk seems just a little straighter, their path more well-lit, their stairway to heaven a bit freer of stumbling blocks. They appear holier, more fruitful, more prosperous, more “blessed and highly favored.” They get more followers, friends, and likes. Their little people participate in science fairs. Their houses don’t creak. They can fill up their cars for less than $50. They don’t go through giant rolls of toilet paper in two weeks and a carton of ice cream in one sitting. Their books get published. Their husbands don’t leave their shoes at the bottom of the stairs. Their legs don’t give out when they walk.
They don’t get just two minutes in the path of totality; they wallow in it.
Well, God says I do, too. And so do you.
Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate our own clearly cut, Jesus-designed path because our lives doesn’t resemble the neighbors or your brother’s or anything a college counselor planned. It’s like the solar eclipse experience. It wasn’t what we expected or what others enjoyed. It rained. Clouds moved in. The glasses weren’t certified. It was only 70% coverage. Now, we may want to move on to the next great thing or the next worst disaster instead of dwelling on what we missed or what we did or didn’t do right.
No, my path doesn’t look like yours. I don’t do my Bible study like I should. I don’t pray as faithfully or always trust that He’ll answer. I have an eclectic way of homeschooling, start my sentences with “but” and “and,” worship in my family room, sing ’70s music, add bacon grease to my cabbage, and sleep past eight a.m. Yet, God says my life experience is no less beautiful or significant. Just like your path, mine includes pain, loss, messiness, bitterness, dust, creaks, unfinished math problems, trials, leaks, missed opportunities, and accidents. It’s filled with joy, quiet, peace, wholeness, books, healing, love, grace, writing, little people, smiles, struggling poinsettias, hope, sun, and rain. It’s not less than. It’s more than I can ever ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)
I just need to look through my lenses of faith that help me see how the Son outshines and overshadows everything else in my life, my path of totality.
Yes, I’m late to the party, writing about the eclipse a whole two days after the fact. But that’s part of my path, too. While it took you two minutes to experience your total eclipse, it is taking me a lifetime. I’m still peering through my spread fingers, questioning and marveling and wondering at and crying about God’s perfect plan for me. I’m grateful I don’t have to wait another seven years to experience it or drive five hundred miles to see it. His Son traveled not just across the country but across eternity for me.
And oh, my goodness. His love is indescribable. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. Ever.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…1 Peter 2:9