Totality


This Monday I was able to witness one of the greatest things I will ever see in my life. And on top of that, the experience I had made this one a story I will tell for the rest of my life.

In March of 2015 while I was in England, I was able to see a partial, and one with a lot of coverage. Over 90% if I remember correctly. It was pretty cool, all the church workers there went outside for about an hour or so and poked holes in paper because we didn’t have those fancy eclipse glasses.

While that was cool, it wasn’t something that was going to stick with me for the rest of my life. It was just another cool thing I’ve seen in my life.

Earlier this year, my dad (who is a huge astronomy nut!) started to get excited about this one. We started to make plans to go, researching all the possible locations we could go to see totality.

So fast forward to now. We decided on Kansas City because it was the closest to Dallas, but we felt uneasy. Other than west of Wyoming, most of the path of totality was forecast for clouds and maybe even rain.

The original plan was to go to St. Joseph, north of KC, but the morning of we called an audible and head east where the forecast said there would be less chance of rain and fewer clouds. We found our way to a town called Boonville about 100 miles east of KC. There was a small airport that closed for the day and hosted a viewing party.

Everything looked great as the partial started. Some clouds, but not too thick. But as moon crawled across the sun, clouds started coming in! With about 25 minutes to go until totality, the clouds completely covered the sun with no break in sight.

Honestly, at this point, I had accepted the fact that we weren’t going to see it. Not only was I feeling down, but I felt bad for my dad who has been looking for this almost a year (he is known as the “eclipse guy” at work).

Then, as if we were being taunted, less than five minutes before totality, rain started falling. After a moment, my dad decided to walk to the truck nearby to get the umbrella.

THEN!!! With less than 2 minutes, with rain still falling, a break in the clouds. With the eclipse glasses on, we could see just a sliver of the sun. I yelled at my dad to get back! We might see it after all!!

A small cloud breezed through but passed with just seconds to go. Then like it was a miracle, clear sky. The total was so close you could actually see the sun disappear through the glasses.

Then it happened! Darkness enveloped us, we ripped our glasses off! TOTALITY! For 2 minutes and 39 seconds, Jesse Viertel Airport saw a total solar eclipse!

Words can not describe that view. Words can not describe that experience.

We’ve all seen pictures, maybe even video. But it doesn’t do it justice.

A few week ago, I watched a TED talk by David Baron where he said that “You owe it to yourself to see a Total Eclipse at least once in your life.” I 100% agree with this statement. The partial I saw in 2015 over 90% coverage. While it was cool, but it was nowhere near the experience I had seeing totality. So if you only saw a partial on Monday and were underwhelmed, don’t let that stop you from trying to see a total in the future.

“Drama” aside, totality was breathtaking, I was almost in tears. Some were. The others in that little airport in Boonville were hollering and yelling, hugging and high-fiving. For 2 minutes and 39 seconds, the moon covered the sun, day became night, and you could see the sun’s corona shining brightly around the moon. Truly one of the most amazing things you could ever see.

It was spectacular. The next total solar in the States is in 2024 and I echo Mr. Baron’s sediment – you owe it to yourself to see a total solar eclipse.

Extremes

Technology gives a voice to the extremes. Have you been on Social Media lately? It can be scary.

Alt Right. Far Left. Anti-Hilary. Never Trump. Socialism is evil. Capitalism is evil.

Body positivity. Body shaming. Lad culture. Slut shaming. Carnivores murder animals. Vegans are whimps.

That show you like sucks. You favorite bands suck. You suck.

I’ll say again – Technology gives a voice to the extremes. Technology has created echo chambers for those extreme voices making them louder. So instead of creating a filter, people have been taught to speak your mind no matter how it affects others or how hurtful it might be.

But, Life isn’t a Reality Show. In order to grow, become a better person, we need to stop living in the extremes and converse with people who aren’t like you. Maybe even disagree with you.

Instead of hating on the person who has a different opinion than you, why not instead find out why they think that? Instead of thinking the opposition is the enemy, learn their story, find out about them as people.

You’d be surprised that even though we may try to act extreme, we have more in common with each other than not.

Trusting in Him

I have found myself relying on Him heavily since the beginning of the New Year. And even more so in the last few weeks. I don’t want to go into details, but I lately I found myself in a situation that is completely out of my control.

There is nothing else I can do at this moment it requires a giant leap of faith in people I know and more importantly in God. More than I have in a while I have found myself trusting in his… fill in the blank.

Trusting in His Word.
Trusting in His direction.
Trusting in His timing.
Trusting in His provision.
Trusting in HIM!

But why is it so hard? Why is it so scary to do this?

Even as a Christian. A self-proclaimed disciple and follower of Christ. Even I find it hard to let go and just trust Him.

Life is like a Puzzle

Puzzle_Krypt-2

I’m not the biggest fan of puzzles. If I do them myself, I take my time and follow the boring typical western way of doing in, slowly look at the pieces until I find the edge pieces. Then, even slower, start piecing together the middle until it’s done. And that is if I even finish the puzzle, because many times by then I get bored or I get frustrated because it’s difficult.

In addition, I can’t finish a puzzle unless I have the final picture to look at and work from.

But, when I do finish one, there is a giant sense of satisfaction that comes when you see the picture that you pieced together and knowing that you connected all those little parts to create one complete picture.

Sometimes though, I think about puzzles and how much like life they are. Think about it for a second. There are many things in our life that start out a jumbled mess and whether working alone with with others we start to piece everything together until it starts to look like what we want it to.

But unlike most puzzles, we don’t always know what the finish product will look like. We sometimes expect we should see the whole picture from the beginning. We expect this so much that often times we don’t even get started because of this.

It’s like we should know how every moment fits into when we first see it. But this handcuffs us. This stops us from even starting, and as a result we miss out on so much or we never piece together important moments in our life.

Life is like a puzzle, except with no finished picture to build from. That doesn’t mean we can’t start to piece together the puzzle that is our life without knowing what it looks like. That’s the joy in life, not knowing where everything leads. We don’t know what our life will look like when it’s finished, we don’t know how people and experiences fit together until it’s already past. And like a puzzle, sometimes the picture doesn’t start to become clear until we start fitting those pieces together – and not until then!

It would be like reading a mystery novel when you already know the answer, or watching a thriller film when we already know the twist, life isn’t meant to be enjoyed that way. You may not know what it is supposed to look like from the beginning, but that just means that the final picture can only be known when we put everything together.

So start fitting pieces together. Look back and make the connections, put them together and you’ll start to see the masterpiece of your life.

The very reason I write…

…is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”

– Zadie Smith

Despite being an extrovert, I can be a very introspective person. I love reflecting on my life and the people in my life. I keep a journal that I write in (at least weekly) for a couple of years now.

I also found out recently that writing these reflections down has actually been shown to have health benefits. It has proven to be very therapeutic in my life as I’ve been able to process some difficult emotions and also give me a chance to explore some of my thoughts that usually roam free in my mind.

But more than that, when I write, it gives me a chance to take a look back on my life and see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve grown, and how much I’ve been blessed in my life. It’s easy to just focus on the difficult parts of life, but when I look back on what I’ve written, I see that God has provided for me and taken care of me so much, and it would be easy to miss that if I never wrote anything down at all.

So as Zadie Smith says, “The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”