Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Cynicism Eclipsed by Eclipse, and Other Deep Thoughts

To be honest, I wasn’t really that excited about today’s eclipse. I was sick of all the media hype and all of those self-congratulatory “spiritual” think pieces and the manufactured shortages of viewing glasses. I tend to shut down when mass events like this are shoved at me relentlessly. As far as I was concerned, today was just another ho-hum Monday. I didn’t expect or even want a spiritual experience, and wasn’t even going to leave my office to look up. But everyone at work was all a-twitter about it, and I helped my Information Desk volunteers get onto the computer so that they could watch the live feed on NASA, and around 10:00 a.m., the sky outside my window grew wonderfully, strangely dark. I ran out to tell my volunteers about it, and they came in and oh’ed and ah’ed appropriately. Then a hard, black shadow stretched out all across the entrance of the hospital, and the temperature dropped noticeably. Everyone was gathered at windows, on the roof, or outside, not getting a lick of work done. I went outside where a small group had gathered, and one of our engineers pointed to a mosaic of odd, half-moon shaped shadows on the sidewalk, and lent me a viewing glass. When I saw the eclipse, I teared up. I don’t know if “awe” is the right word, but I felt like I was witnessing something astonishing and enormous and miraculous. (I guess that qualifies as awe.) I felt like I was in another world, standing before a primal, ancient power that has existed for spans of time I can’t even fathom. For a second, my heart, which has been clenched with anger and grief for months, expanded to contain the moment.

Buddy, however, was having none of it. According to eyewitness reports, he walked out onto the deck, took one look at what was going on, and immediately dropped to his belly and slunk back inside to hide on the couch. That cat is no fool.

This is a short (and late) post today. But I will leave with you two items to ponder:

1.       Last night I had a dream that I was in a literal back alley with Martin Shkreli and a shady group of people who were involved in an illegal betting ring involving “futures.” There was some sort of complicated kickback scheme being discussed, and I stood to make a cool 800 bucks off the deal. I put in my bet, but immediately regretted it out of fear of being caught and arrested. Dream interpreters, have a field day!

2.      I’m no Thich Nhat Hanh, (come on, I just made an illegal bet on futures), but I’ll say it anyway: Our wounds are not our identity. We could use a little more looking within right now and a little less looking outside of ourselves for the conditions we want to see in the world. Anger is a necessary catalyst for change, but it’s also addictive and it can easily short out our brains and less make us less able to think and act rationally. Just sayin’. Now, excuse me, I have to go collect my 800 bucks from Dream Martin.

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment:

Nancy Harris said...

Kristen, I love your comments about the eclipse. Here in Maine, darkness was hardly noticeable; just gray cloud thrown across the sun for a few minutes. Since I did not have proper glasses, I did not go outside to watch. Also, I like your comment "our wounds do not define us or who we are." Very true! God bless and keep writing!