Lesson one (and fairly obvious) is that, even when the sun is completely covered up by the moon, you can still see the sun's aura. The sun never completely disappears. Its power still radiates from behind the darkness. For me, this drove home the fact that no matter how dark our circumstances, God is always there. Nothing is too devastating or bleak for God to make His presence known. If we look for Him, we will find Him. This is a beautiful message and one I hope I never forget.
But Lesson two is the one I've really been pondering for the past week or so. It is this: When we are fully committed, we open ourselves up to blessings and experiences we can't even imagine.
Bear with me as I try to articulate my thoughts.
Fortunately, I was talking with a friend a few days before the eclipse. She'd read some thoughts by an eclipse chaser and he noted that the difference between 99% totality and 100% totality is huge! No comparison. The experience is completely different. Well, that got me thinking and wondering if it might be worth the drive after all. It didn't take much to get the kids on board; after all, they'd get to miss a good chunk of the school day.
Because I've already shared our eclipse experience, I won't go into all the details again. I'll just focus on a few things that illustrate what I mean by lesson two.
For starters, unless you are viewing totality, you must wear solar glasses which literally block out everything except the sun. We had our glasses on while watching the moon slide into totality. When only the tiniest sliver of sun was still visible, I peeked over the rim of my glasses to see what it really looked like and, to my surprise, the sun still appeared so bright that it looked like the full sun was shining. It was only when the eclipse reached totality that we could remove the glasses and that made all the difference. It revealed a different world. From the significant dimming of the sky to the visible stars and the evening sounds, it was really stunning. Back home, none of that was part of the limited experience. They couldn't remove the glasses, yet they didn't know what they had missed. They just didn't see what all the fuss was about. And that's the problem. When we give a half-hearted effort, we may never realize that we compromised the outcome. It took more effort and time to see the eclipse in its totality, but as a result, our experience was worlds away from the one back home.
There is a quote that I came across 25 years ago by William Hutchison Murray. I've thought about it so many times. It says,
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way."
Elder Gary B. Sabin summed this up well in a talk given last April:
"We don’t hold back to see what the minimum is we can get by with.... When we are fully committed and “all in,” heaven shakes for our good. When we are lukewarm or only partially committed, we lose out on some of heaven’s choicest blessings."I believe this because I've seen it happen. When I am fully committed, my experiences are significantly different. "Heaven shakes for [my] good" and "Providence moves, too." Who wouldn't want that?
Don't be afraid to be all in. It's worth it!