On Aug. 21, 2017, I saw the most beautiful thing. It was the day of the solar eclipse, but I assure you that the beauty I saw at eye level was even better than the scene in the sky.
We happened to be in Columbus for a day trip — my girls and I, my mama, my sis and her kids. We were finishing up our late lunch (intentionally late because we were apprehensive about the young ones wanting to look up to see what the fuss was about). Across the street, free glasses were being handed out. We had no intention of waiting in the line. We were more than content with missing it to secure our littles’ eyes.
As the peak of the solar eclipse was rushing in, the buzz in the restaurant made us curious — especially my 9-year-old nephew and I. It was on a whim that we decided we needed to see it and hoped there were glasses left. My mom and sis kept the girls, and my nephew and I took off to get some glasses.
As we made our way outside, the world seemed off. Although on a normal day it would have just seemed cloudy, it was eerily shaded and the sky, without looking at it, seemed to throw off an uninviting aura. There were people everywhere in a typically uncrowded area. We didn’t pay attention to them, as we were on a mission for glasses. We made our way to the booth and, not surprisingly, they were out.
We were both pretty bummed. We were stoked to see this awesome event and then it dissipated. Or so we thought. A woman called over to us. “Here, take a look,” as she handed my nephew, Bray, the glasses.
He was pumped! The clouds broke away for a few and he was able to spot a marvelous event in the sky. I took a quick look, thanked her, and handed the glasses back. But she wasn’t done sharing. For the next few minutes she sacrificed her own viewing of this event to take turns with us. And then another gentleman offered in the sharing game. We watched as much of the sun was covered by the moon and it was phenomenal — but that wasn’t the most breathtaking event I saw.
As my nephew kept an eye on the sky, I looked around at the atmosphere. It was then I realized we were smack dab in the middle of a huge crowd.
There was a young white couple, no doubt newly married, sharing an amazing first. An elderly twosome, who appeared to be dating, passing glasses back and forth. Two girls deep in love holding hands while they caught a piece of history. A black family staring intently at the sky behind glasses. An Asian group enjoying the wonder and discussing it. And my biracial nephew and I sharing glasses with a black woman and a white man.
And for a moment, or at least a few, the entire world was right.
There was no race, no gender, no age, no hate. We stood there in a group of completely different people all hoping to achieve one goal — seeing the eclipse.
For a short amount of time, no one cared about each other’s views or backgrounds. There wasn’t fear of an attack or a fight breaking out. Instead, everyone worked together to ensure each person out there had a front-seat view of this phenomenon.
Now, I will never claim to know what or when the end of the world is. But I can only imagine it is similar to that day. All equal, all caring for one another, all reaching out in love. And most importantly — all looking up to God in heaven.
As a mama, I try to equip my girls with real-life glasses that filter out the hate between race, age and gender. I want my children to view others simply by the beauty within each person.
The eclipse was short lived and, like everyone else, we went on our way. After we finished at the restaurant and walked back out, it was again sunny in a normal, uncrowded area.
People had moved on. No longer conjoined by an end goal, they went back to life. But my mind hasn’t moved on. Those few minutes that I spent with my nephew — and tons of other people — brought hope into my heart.
I believe I saw a glimpse of heaven that day. While all were looking up at the amazingness, I was looking out at something far more beautiful. Which only convinced me further that, when all is said and done, we are all just people longing for the day when we all be overcome by the righteousness in the sky.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.