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A Total Solar Eclipse



Total Solar Eclipse

Nature is awesome. On Monday April 8, 2024, North America will witness a total solar eclipse. Global scientists have assembled to explain the significance to the world. According to NASA, the last total solar eclipse was seen on Aug. 21, 2017.

Timing is everything as today across North America we experienced a total solar eclipse. Its path stretched from Mexico to Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

NASA reported that in 2017, an estimated 215 million US adults viewed the solar eclipse. That eclipse lasted approximately two minutes and forty-two seconds. Compared to 2017, the total solar eclipse on Mon April 8, 2024 is estimated to last almost twice as long at four minutes and twenty-eight seconds. Another difference is the path of the eclipse. In 2017 the path across North America was approximately sixty-two to seventy-one miles wide, compared to 2024 when it is estimated that the path will range from one hundred and eight to one hundred and twenty-two miles wide.

So what is a total solar eclipse. Well according to the National Geographic society, a total solar eclipse occurs where the moon absolutely or totally blocks out the sun. How does the moon cover the sun when the sun is so much larger? The reason is the moon will become much closer to the Earth so it will appear larger. As the moon travels around the Earth, during a total eclipse, the moon will pass between the sun and the Earth for a moment. When everything lines up exactly, the sun is covered by the moon. This means that the daytime sky has a shadow of darkness as the moon slides over and covers the sunlight.

We don’t have to just make sense of this in a scientific way. In fact, I prefer to use a Christian lens for a more profound explanation of this celestial occurrence. The bible describes the solar eclipse in a variety of ways. In the book of Joshua (10:13), Joshua spoke to the Lord; and he said in the sight of Israel,


“Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the valley of Aijalon.’ And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped…The sun stopped in mid-heaven, and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.”

The book of Joel (2:31) describes a different meaning for the total solar eclipse, when God’s Spirit poured out and He says,

“I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

The Acts of the Apostles in chapter two verse twenty, echo these sentiments with,

“The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”


Of course we cannot forget the most important celestial occurrence from over 2000 years ago. A star which marked the place of birth for our Lord Jesus Christ, Savior to the world. It is where our healing journey began as I describe in my first book “A Star in the Distance.”

Jesus was born but was crucified, died and rose from the dead, on Easter which we celebrated only a week ago. On the day Jesus was crucified, Luke’s gospel (23:44-46) explains,

“it was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last.”


Jesus has risen and is alive. Christians around the world continue to celebrate Easter for forty days after Jesus’ resurrection up to Pentecost. These post forty days are crucial because this is the time when Jesus continues to teach the disciples to deliver his message. It is part of the reason why I called my recent healing book “Finding Life in Forty Days.” The forty days during lent when Jesus was tempted by Satan but also the significant forty days after Jesus was crucified, died for us, and was resurrected. It is during these times that we explore ways to find life allowing God to lead us to healing. We no longer have to run away from God. He is with us. He is alive. The shadow of darkness experienced during the total solar eclipse is a reminder to us of the darkness that can overtake our lives if we let that happen.


I talk about moving towards the light in order to heal. Being children of light means allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in our actions, habits and way of life. My book, “Finding Life in Forty Days,” discusses ways to peel away anything that is dark, negative, or toxic in your life in order to allow the light in. In order to allow God in to your life. Jesus is alive and because of this darkness no longer has power over us because God is with us. Allowing God to lead us in our lives we can experience the fullness, the total serenity – like the total eclipse of our lives, giving us hope. Even in the darkness of an eclipse we will still experience light inside of us. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light for us, therefore we cannot stumble or be misguided. We rise out of the darkness so that we can heal. We are no longer blind. Rising out of darkness into the light is a common theme from my newly released book “Finding Life in Forty Days.”


Writing using Nature.

How can you do this? I didn’t time it this way but North America being plunged into a total solar eclipse provides inspiration for writing. From the biblical scriptures I provided, we already know that a total solar eclipse is a phenomenon not limited to scientific explanations. Going beyond the facts and the verses let’s just think of this in terms of how nature can guide your writing.

 

During a total solar eclipse the brightness of mid-day becomes blotted out by the moon. The day becomes night for a few minutes. When you experience being in those moments, in time and space, you will likely notice that everything around you will become heightened. What I mean by this is your senses will take on a different level. You may of course be caught up in the moment – but attempt to connect with your senses. What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you smell? What do you see?

For the last one you may say ‘I see nothing’ – but seeing or experiencing darkness when logically you know it should be bright causes different feelings to be stirred within you. It is at that moment when the inspiration will be active within you. During that time, the Holy Spirit within you will be uplifted and come alive. Those feelings and inspiration will be heightened – such as fear, calmness, weakness, strength. Your senses – mind, heart, and soul become intertwined to hear God’s call – that inspiration to guide you with your writing. Being in that moment allow yourself to feel the fullness of sound, smells, touch that you may ignore when you go about your normal day. These moments are critical to what and how you write. You need to let go of any inhibitions you may have in order to experience inspiration fully.


Writing Examples

Here are some of my thoughts of ways to capture these moments of nature and translate it into writing scenes. When you think of writing in terms of scenes it allows you to reflect on the moment to describe all of the elements of that scene in a meaningful and thoughtful way. Writing in scenes reduces the writing task into manageable aspects of your writing journey. In this way writing doesn’t become a daunting task especially when you are working on a large project like a novel.

For example, I am working on a few large projects simultaneously. The first is a youth adventure series, the second a memoir, the third a short story collection, the fourth another devotional for my healing series. When I am focusing on a particular chapter I write it in terms of a scene. In this way it’s easier to tackle things like a movie is separated by frames, or a play is separated by acts and scenes.

Let me demonstrate how I will use the total solar eclipse scene that I could layer into one of my novels.


Example 1:

“In a sudden flash, we were plunged into darkness. A singular magnificent, serene moment. I needed to drink it in. I needed to savour it. I needed to cherish that moment. Fear washed over me as time and space halted. The earth seemed motionless and frozen. Rich tones of ebony splashed across the once powder blue sky, as the day became shrouded by the moon. A wave of quietness flooded the streets as everyone gathered in different spaces to witness the natural phenomenon. When one terrifying moment all eyes were united and fixed to one path upward. Signs of mystery wrapped in a blanket of wonder.”


Example 2:

“The urgency and calamity of the day, if only for a brief moment was suspended in time so that nothing else mattered. We were no longer in control. It was as if God knew our priorities were meaningless. He wanted us to let go of our inhibitions and excitement and absorb the beauty and awesomeness of that moment. Thoughts of the past successes, failures, fears, trauma, hurts, illness, and happiness, all forgotten. The worry, stress, and plans for the future were suspended. We were in the moment now, in the present, living it and releasing everything else. The present. A gift from God.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to imagine small solar eclipse events in our daily lives so as not to weigh ourselves down with thoughts of the past or worries for the future. Using these celestial moments as gifts from God, taking us back to that star in the distance.

(Copyright © Carol-Ann Lane, Author. All rights reserved.)

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