The Eclipse of Glory

He came in with four pair of eclipse glasses after what was supposed to be a quick trip to Lowe’s.

“SO…We should totally drive to see the Total Solar Eclipse.”

“We should? What day is on?” thinking in my head that I’m not super interested in seeing this phenomenon, but he seems excited, almost giddy.

“It’s like a once in a lifetime experience…and it’s covering the whole United States. It would be amazing…”

“Yeah, we could probably do that” thinking that we should do more spontaneous, fun experiences. What day?”

“August 21st.”

“That’s a Monday, and I work. And it’s the first day of school for Emilynn. We can’t go.”

Thus the beginning of many, many conversations about experiencing the eclipse. Ross was determined to make it happen.  There were several side conversations over dinner or the random morning bathroom conversation. All of them ended with me saying, “But it’s Emilynn’s first day of school…” Even Emilynn’s kindergarten teacher let me know that she was Team Ross…It’s a great experience and what is the first day of first grade compared to seeing the total solar eclipse.  Ross advocated for himself on our vacation with his mom telling me stories of him seeing an eclipse as a seven year old and witnessing Haley’s Comet.

When we finally had the serious talk that needed to happen to either kill this idea or bring it to life, Ross asked me if I could get off of work.  We found out that I was actually already moved off that day due some scheduling needs for my team.  Fate. A sign. Ross was convinced it must be Jesus.  So that conversation brought it to life, and we booked a hotel in Kansas City with credit card points.  We talked about driving the 9 hours there and back and being back in time for school on Tuesday.

Much to my dismay, my oldest didn’t blink an eye at the news of missing the first day.  I spent the next several weeks in denial.  Ross would most certainly see the error of his ways…a cross-country trip with a 2, 4, and 6 year old in two days, two very late nights, multiple reports of the dangers of viewing the eclipse (especially with children), the first week of school, if-y weather reports and ridiculous traffic reports…I mean, this really just didn’t seem like the most logical decision.  Guys are supposed to be logical, right?

The weekend finally arrived.  My closest friends were Team Ashley and shared my mommy heart and thought processes. I attempted to gain sympathy at work from co-workers and didn’t get very far. We were going, and I was either going to choose joy or frustration and anxiety.

Our bases were covered.  At Meet the Teacher we let Emilynn’s teacher know she was going to be out.  I spent Saturday making road trip books for the girls, packing a special snack basket, organizing and cleaning the car, charging all of the electronics for sanity, and trying everything to GET EXCITED!

We got up early on Sunday morning and headed out.  We had an uneventful drive up to Kansas City.  We bribed the girls all along the way with the pool that awaited them at the hotel.  They were so excited.  We pulled into the hotel and a feeling came over me…Something wasn’t right.  Ross came back with a long face and the look of “be prepared for what I am about to tell you.”

“They lost our reservation didn’t they?” I said convinced that we had no where to stay…

Ross went on to tell me that someone broke a glass in the coveted pool and that it was closed for the night at least.

OMG. Mama bear rose to the occasion.  “You go in there and tell them to get on their handy-dandy computer and move us to another (insert hotel name here) that has a working pool!!”

About 15 minutes later, I decided to insert myself into Ross’ conversation at the front desk.  Because for 15 minutes I kept the girls tears, whines and complete depths of despair at bay and I was OVER IT.

The lady proceeded to tell me it is actually not as simple as switching us to another hotel.  I looked at my watch realizing that we really should be heading to bed soon anyway. Just forget it.

“Can we swim in the bathtub, Mom?”  “Absolutely, girls. Sure.”

The next bump of the trip came when I got up the next morning to call the school and let them know that Emilynn was going to be absent.  I read the handbook and this was the process….Just not on the first day of school as it turns out. I was met with an unkind office worker letting me know that my daughter would lose her place in the program she was in and may not be with the teacher she had met the Wednesday night before.  After FREAKING out, I talked with another lady who was able to calm my fears. Emilynn was a “no-show” and had to sit with me, her delinquent mom, on the bench outside the office on Tuesday morning, but she did in fact get back in her class and program. Navigating this whole public school realm has been a bit of a learning curve…sometimes I feel like I’m failing…

After my blood pressure went down from that phone call and my anger towards my husband (whose fault ALL of this was), we proceeded to check out so that we could drive to the little town where we would watch the eclipse.  We walked outside to dark, thundering clouds and a bit of a downpour.   My blood pressure shot back up. Deep breaths. “This better be good!”

We drove east to the town while the clouds followed us the whole way.  We kept driving east and then south and decided to end up at a park we scoped out in Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri.  We were tired, but excited.  We picnicked and got settled watching the moon come across the sun.  People were thrilled.  We became a little park family as we all waited together and watched as dusk fell at noon.  We began hearing crickets and birds singing nighttime songs.  The temperature began to drop and the breeze picked up.  As the sliver of the sun disappeared, our glasses came off and a roar of cheers overtook ~ cheers from all of over the city.  It was unbelievable and glorious.  Tears began to roll down my cheeks…

That day I wasn’t certain why I cried.  Maybe I was crying because the morning had been so hard and I needed sleep.  Maybe I was crying because we had a 9 hour drive (at least) ahead and this was the moment.  Maybe I was crying because the roar of the people all gathered together was a taste of what Heaven will sound like.

 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 2 Corinthians 3:10-11

While I was tired, I think that my tears were holy tears.  Glory is a gift, but it’s not without a cost. Choosing glory, fostering glory, waiting for glory all take a huge amount of glorious sanctification.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

There is so much glory yet to be seen and experienced.  Ross and I talked on the way home a lot about the eclipse.  We talked about how darkness can never truly eclipse light…The corona of the sun that was left shining was so bright and pure. We talked about beholding glory here as a picture of what is to come.  We talked about the intricate ways that the Lord set this world into motion and the ways He chooses to display Himself through it. We knew, no matter what, we had tasted glory.

We call it the Marriage Eclipse of 2017. Marriage eclipsed every ounce of denial, every frustrated thought, every moment I was convinced we would all regret this crazy endeavor.  Glory remained, as it often does when we die to ourselves.  

Just a few days after the Total Solar Eclipse, Hurricane Harvey struck landfall and devastated cities and towns all over the coastal region of Texas and Houston.  Again, we have watched a natural phenomenon (unfortunately, a disastrous one) bring the multitude of people together. In the moments of the sun disappearing and a great cloud of witnesses cheering, Heaven touched the earth.  And now, in the midst of heartache, fear, and unfathomable aftermath, we once again see Heaven touching earth.  He is indeed an amazing God, and He is most amazing in and through His witnesses. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12: 1, 2

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