This time of year is hard for me. In part, I know it is because I dislike – intensely – the heat of deep summer and the sinus swelling humidity that tends to go with it. I surely hope that when Yeshua comes again, or I when get to Heaven (whichever comes first), that there are no such things as humidity and 90+ degree heat. Hmmmm…then again…maybe the new body we get won’t have sinuses and are impervious to heat. Oooo…super powers…. Seems there are always more and more things I wonder about in the quiet of the day when I just let my brain roam.
However, the real reason this time of year is tough is because I miss the excitement. The excitement that always pulls at me hard all year round – but really hits exceptionally hard in late August. Getting a classroom ready – outlining a direction I want to go with a new group of students – incorporating things I learned over the last few years – discarding things that didn’t work – getting a class list and praying over each student and their family – greeting co-workers in quiet hallways and praying for them, our school district and challenges ahead. Now that is excitement.
This year all my Grands are in school. One taking his first steps into more formal education. The oldest two starting their first steps away from the parental nest and entering college. Excitement everywhere. In NC, double excitement layers over the initial days as schools prepare to show students in real time the first “path-of-totality” solar eclipse in anyone’s lifetime. While there have been many total and partial eclipses over the years, it is rare that one eclipse will be able to be seen in every state of the United States as either a total or partial eclipse. The last time it happened was 1776.
It is interesting to note that in Jewish tradition, the day of August 21st ends as the solar eclipse ends. Thus, begins Rosh Chodesh and the new month of Elul. This intrigues me in several of ways. First, this festival honors the faith of Jewish women who stood their ground when everyone was pressuring them to give up their gold to make the “golden calf”. Secondly, Catholic tradition also has a holy day on the 22nd of August called the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Third, the month of Elul triggers a month of repentance that leads into the Jewish High Holy Days.
Women who stand in their faith – Jewish and Gentile. A month of repentance. A sign in the sky. Is it any wonder, I am intrigued? Is there a hint in all of this that God wants us to see or is it just a rare natural occurrence that stirs us with its beauty?
My teacher self always whispers there is something to learn in everything we see, everything we do, every encounter, every circumstance – even in the very day-to-day activity of life. So why not a solar eclipse? Remember the old story? That long ago in separate countries far, far away from here, wisemen set out to follow a star. They didn’t know exactly what they would find. They just had faith enough to follow the sign. A sign that was foretold long before them. A sign in the heavens.
When I look at those three things, the one that pulls at me the most is the month of repentance. Our country is hurting. It has strayed from the days of standing on foundational rock and instead, slides to and fro on the shifting sands of society’s tidal waves. Perhaps the solar eclipse is meant to be a reminder – a call. Just as teaching calls to me every August to remember, perhaps Our Father is calling out His own reminder. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”~Matt 3:2
Tomorrow is the 21st of August. Tomorrow is the 29th of Av. Tomorrow is Monday. Tomorrow is, for some, the start of school. Tomorrow is the “path-of-totality” solar eclipse. Tomorrow is exciting. Tomorrow is hard. Tomorrow is full of possibilities and choices. Tomorrow is a new day.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if women of faith chose to stand united on the firm foundation of His WORD?
Wouldn’t it be interesting if all the children of Our Father chose to experience a month of repentence on that same firm foundation?
Wouldn’t it be interesting to seek a sign just as the wisemen did so long ago on the Path-of-Totality?
“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light on the earth’ and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light on the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”~Gen 1:14-19