LOOKING BACK

Eclipse was inspiring, but not life-changing

Larry Bowers
Posted 8/26/17

My columns are a collection of things I’ve experienced through the years — people, places and events.

Today’s column also looks back, but not very far. Today is about last Monday, Aug. 21, …

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LOOKING BACK

Eclipse was inspiring, but not life-changing

Posted

My columns are a collection of things I’ve experienced through the years — people, places and events.

Today’s column also looks back, but not very far. Today is about last Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, when I was among millions of people who had the opportunity to watch a total solar eclipse.

At the start of the day, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d been told it would be among my most inspirational and emotional happenings ever, that it could change my life. I was not convinced viewing the moon’s journey across the face of the sun would shatter any of my beliefs, or “rock my world,” as some say.

Since the start of the moon’s phases toward totality, around 1 p.m. Monday, I’ve had an epiphany!

Was I entertained by this once-in-a-lifetime vision from space? Yes.

Was I wowed to the extent I’ll chase eclipses around the globe? No, but how many people are?

I realize it was something I was very fortunate to experience without having to become a globetrotter, and it drew the focus of my attention for about two hours. I also met some interesting people at the Cleveland/Bradley County Public Library, and most of them also enjoyed the experience.

But change my life? I think not!

During my up-and-down 76 years, I have been inspired by the birth of my two sons, by marriages — although they didn’t last that long, by the arrival of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, three successful cancer surgeries, and the realization that meaningful, as well as disappointing things, will happen in life — until the end.

I believe many of the things which prove inspirational are personal accomplishments, as well as the accomplishments of others. I feel inspired to write newspaper articles, cover community meetings and events, and write columns for the enjoyment of my readers (though sometimes that last point is debated).

Readers don’t have to agree with my views, but I hope I give them reason to think, or remember.

I was inspired by my first hole-in-one in golf, but the four that followed didn’t reach the same level of excitement. I continue to be very inspired by the accomplishments of others, especially young people.

When exceptional talent is displayed, such as I’ve viewed recently on the TV show “America’s Got Talent,” I am excited and inspired. I am not embarrassed to say I lose more than a few tears of joy for their outstanding performances, and I feel sadness when their hopes and dreams are not realized.

When people do exceptional things for others, to give them a lift in life, I am just as inspired.

I was entertained by the eclipse, to what I feel was an appropriate level. The greatest sense of awe was that I watched something that infrequently happens in God’s great scheme of things. Millions of people will never have this opportunity.

I am more inspired, though, when someone helps a child, or an elderly person laughs, or when they just bring out a smile. I am inspired by the love and assurance I receive from family members, friends or even my pets.

These are things which can change your life, and which can bolster your faith in the goodness of the Almighty.

I can see why some eclipses of the past might have been attention-getters, but they usually happened when something else was being observed.

There was possibly an eclipse around the time Christ was crucified, as seen from outside the city of Jerusalem. You would probably have found religion very quickly, when the sun went out.

What about the natives in Jamaica, when Columbus told them he would take the sun away — and did?

Then there was the (scientific) revelation when an eclipse proved the authenticity of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Regardless of what you thought about his hairstyle, he still became a genius.

It would perhaps inspire me more if another scientific theory was authenticated Monday.

I am not attempting to cloud the emotional, or inspirational feelings of anyone regarding The Great American Eclipse of 2017. It deserves the moniker, the publicity and the attention. It provided an exceptional level of excitement for millions of people, and did in fact inspire and change many.

It was something I am happy I have experienced, but it didn’t profoundly change everything for me, personally.

Now, I go back to the everyday struggle of facing the ups and downs of life. Bills and the rent are coming due, and I have stories to write. No more eclipses in sight.

You might say I’m living a ho-hum existence ... after the eclipse was over!

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