By Sister Christine Parks
I began writing this on the day of the solar eclipse, because it seemed a day of being one with so many others across our country in a very unique way. Whether the rest of the world was as enamored with it or not, the eclipse certainly superseded pretty much everything else in the U.S. on August 21st. And, even more, it seemed to bring people together in a spirit of celebratory unity that went well beyond the current contentious atmosphere that has created such a toxic climate all around us this summer.
There was something about the hundreds of thousands of people who traveled across the country to find, and stand together, in that 70 mile-wide “path of totality” moving from Oregon to South Carolina. Something about the hundreds of thousands more who stood outside homes and workplaces, stopping along the road, glancing out plane windows, to see the partial eclipse, whether through the approved glasses or on their phone’s camera, or in the shadow box they had constructed. There was something about the total attention of our nation, focused on the few minutes of dark, sweeping from coast to coast that seemed momentarily hopeful, as so many of us gazed upward and out into our solar system and beyond.
As I stood on my driveway looking up at the slender arc of sun shining past the edge of the moon, I was filled with a sense of seeing a small sliver of our universe in a totally new and truly awe-filled way. It was almost like looking through a window into the heart of the Holy…seeing beyond our light and rhetoric -polluted atmosphere into a small bit of creation, happening right here, right now, just beyond the rim of this unfinished and less than perfect world we share with all the other beings that call earth home.
It was a vision that fanned a spark of gratitude and hope in me, and perhaps others, that all the small bits of work we do—our prayer, our action, our advocacy—for protecting and healing earth will grow, spread and bear fruit for the next generation.
About the Author
Sister Christine Parks currently serves as a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph Leadership Team. Her leisure activities include gardening, long walks in nature, reading, writing, attending plays and concerts, as well as museums.