For those who were able to catch a glimpse of the total eclipse, it definitely was breathtaking. We watched, on television, as people were gathered in fields in Iowa and as the reporter said, slightly timidly, “It is so magnificent that I ask you to please excuse me for crying.” For many reasons, that comment touched us almost as much as the miracle of what we were looking at. Following the eclipse we heard many comments about how this experience had brought people together. Some stood on rooftops of office buildings and shared special glasses. Others standing on the street invited people over who were nearby, offering them to have the same experience they were having by sharing their glasses. Many said it brought out the best in people. For just a few minutes, everyone was excited together without worrying about prejudices or concerns for safety. What a beautiful world it can be.
What came to our minds was the realization that every day we have the opportunity to notice the sun, the moon and the stars. They never go away even on a day when the weather is inclement. Yet, how many of us do not take this phenomena for granted? We expect when we awake in the morning it will be light and that when we go to sleep at night it will be dark.
The more we thought and discussed, the more evident it became to us that there are very few things in life that most of us do not assume will always happen.
It is when something takes an unexpected twist that we may suddenly realize how accustomed we are to our routine in life. It is the day that the carpool comes late, that the school bus breaks down, that the newspaper that we rely on each morning to read while busing to work doesn’t show up, that there is no longer any milk in the fridge for our early-morning coffee. That’s when the turmoil begins. How could it be? We expect our days to go by routinely. Life works like a machine. We give it no thought. Everything just happens at the right moment in the proper time. And then, woof, a glitch faults the system. Most of us are so unprepared for anything that is out of the ordinary. We have often heard comments of how one little change in a routine sets off an entire day for many people. They cannot deal with a minor disruption. The comic relief of all of this, if we all only knew how to step back and look at ourselves, is that in the overall scheme of life, most of the things that we get most annoyed about are minor, ridiculous infringements, better known as narishkeits, which crop up on so many almost idyllic lives. Yet, we have a tendency to sit back and look at them with a resentful and angry glare.
We are not even going to touch on the way we take our partners in life for granted. It is known that we tend to get angriest at the person whom we love the most for the most ridiculous things. Indeed, that would require another entire article. (It may come in the future.)
We wish we were able to concentrate on the beauty of everyday things. The miracle of the eclipse manifests each day in thousands of ways in our everyday lives. We should not need such an event to remind us of the wondrousness of the world around us. As we awake each morning, the miracles of life have begun. Savor them and resist the tendency to be blinded by the tiny little annoyances all of us experience. Pretend the eclipse was not every many years but instead every second of every day.
By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick