As awe-inspiring and amazing as the Total Solar Eclipse was on Monday (and it truly was here in Missouri in the path of totality), I’d like to tell another story of the eclipse.
It’s the story of my husband and his brother who hadn’t seen each other in nearly a decade.
But let me back up a little to tell you why I feel this story is worth telling.
Family comes second only to God in my life. I feel blessed to have parents and siblings who actually like one another and enjoy spending time together. And geographically, we’re able to make it work out, so we see each other several times a year. We are all busy with jobs and kids and other responsibilities but many of my greatest memories from my adult life are times when we’ve just gotten together for the weekend, to celebrate birthdays or holidays, where we eat way too much food, play cards when the littles will let us, reminisce and laugh.
My husband’s family, on the other hand, is spread out all over the country, from the east coast to the west. We try to visit many of them as we road trip but it’s hard when they’re so spread out and there’s so many of them. So it had been over nine years since he’d seen his brother and about 16 since I had.
So what happened? Why hadn’t they seen each other in so long? I don’t really know the whole story. I suppose the answer could be found in why anyone doesn’t see someone for so long. Distance, time, priorities, mistakes made, hurt feelings. A combination of those things. Or none of those things.
Their story could be your story. Or a variation of it. It has happened in countless families around the world and throughout the ages. Something gets in the way of being together or having relationships. Something gets in the way of what matters most.
I spent many years very angry at a family member for something they had done to me. It was more than just hurt feelings or a misunderstanding. They made no effort to make things right and I let it gnaw at me for way too long. I finally realized it was a heavy burden I didn’t need to be carrying and decided to forgive them.
And I get that it’s not always easy to do that. But life is short. Forgive. Love. Accept. Move on and do good.
Gordon B. Hinckley said: “Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way.”
Miracles. I really believe that about forgiveness.
And whether my husband and his brother’s story involved a miracle or not, the eclipse reminded me that they do happen.
Well, so, his brother drove into town the day before the eclipse. It was so very good to see the two of them together again, even if just for a day. Laughing and sharing memories, wit and sarcasm like no time had passed.
And then there was the eclipse. We found a great spot in the middle of nowhere south of Carrollton, right along the center line of the path of totality, surrounded by soybeans and corn. But then it started raining. The forecast didn’t look great and I was afraid we were going to miss it. So we decided to take a chance and headed south to Concordia where it was perfectly clear.
We made it just in time to see it all. And it was absolutely breathtaking! That moment when it looks as if the sun is disappearing and everything goes completely dark and you see the corona and hear people screaming with joy and excitement. It was incredible.
And it was, as they said it would be, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
But watching those two brothers bond once again was, perhaps, more celestial than the eclipse itself.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: “Perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most … focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most.”
We lifted our eyes up to see the eclipse. And then I looked back down at those two brothers. Family. What really matters most.