The Promise of Darkness, Eclipse 2017

by Ilinap on August 21, 2017

Photo credit: JRayFoto https://www.instagram.com/jrayfoto/

 

We’ve been a nation shrouded in darkness since November 9, yet today we welcomed the darkness as we eagerly awaited the total solar eclipse. In a paradoxical twist, it was the promise of darkness that breathed an airy lightness into our country.

Today was a remarkable day. We rallied around a scientific event, celebrating the universe, the glory of our world, and the sheer awe of nature. The eclipse was so much more than an astronomical event. Today’s solar eclipse was a national unifier. No one questioned science. No one blasphemed the media. No one lashed out in outrage. Today was a day to celebrate our universe, and we were positively giddy as we donned those goofy glasses.

We ventured out to new places, we clutched our family close, and we chattereed with our colleagues as we awaited the eclipse with the anticipation of a child on Christmas Eve. Social media was atwitter with traffic reports, inquiries for eclipse glasses, clever viewing parties, and play-by-play reports as the sun and moon danced. Today we united as curious citizens sharing a common history, bonding over a shared experience. We took the time to mark August 21, 2017 in our family lore and all have a tale to tell. We posed for photos with those mirrored glasses and laughed at how everyone tilted their head in a different direction, a sure sign of following the photographer’s voice since we couldn’t see a thing.

Sure, some of us have had a shared experience since the election, but it’s all been a beast to bear. We yearn for something positive, and the eclipse brought just the antidote to the influx of hate, pain, and dread each news day brings. Today that shared experience transcended social strata and time zones alike. America bonded over something positive and uplifting. We reveled instead of wallowed, and what a welcome change that was!

For two minutes today the darkness brought a much needed light. Let’s embrace that and remember the warmth of the sun and all the promise it holds. We have important work to do.  Carry with you the awe and wonder of today as you carry on the resistance tomorrow.

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“We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.”

Jimmy Carter

 

It is criminal that we have hungry children in our community. These aren’t far away kids whose faces you’ll never see (as if that mattered). I’m talking about children who sit next to your children and mine in school. It matters not what brings these children to this place. I cannot bear to hear the harsh, judgement of those who say hateful things like, “Why do those people keep having children?” “Those people.” It makes me shudder. If you refer to families in need or people who are different than you as “those people,” then you’re an ass and a horrible human being.

America is a land of riches that is woefully morally bankrupt. It’s time to end political bickering and petulance when it comes to matters of our children. We can do better. We should do better. We must do better. Our elected officials have presumably chosen a career in public service to help others, hence the moniker “public servant.” If they’ve come to help their bottom line but not those at the bottom of the totem pole, I’d say they’ve chosen the wrong profession. We must, as a nation and as a state, stop punishing the poor and celebrating the rich. It’s a twisted outlook that harms rather than helps.

Hungry children have no responsibility to bear when it comes to their plight. My own children have nothing to do with their station in life. It’s nothing more than a matter of kismet that determines our parents. Poverty is a vicious cycle, but the good news is that it can be broken. We have the tools in this nation to end childhood hunger. We are brimming with resources. Can we please stop blaming and judging these children and families and simply do what it takes, whatever it takes, to help?

One small way to make a big difference regionally is to donate to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Backpack Buddies program. You can help provide weekend meals for students whose only meals are at school. Imagine the pain of hunger pangs on weekends for these kids. Never mind that these backpack meals are often split among more than one family member. Never mind the sacrifices parents make to feed their children rather than themselves. Never mind how hard these families work. The stererotype of lazy, entitled parents is simply wrong. Food insecurity afflicts many people in our community, and these are often the hardest working among us.

The WRAL Backpack Buddies Mediathon is Wednesday, July 19. Phones are manned all day long so make a donation to help end childhood hunger. Every little bit helps. You can also drop off food donations  at Triangle Town Center and Food Lion locations in Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham, Johnston, Nash, and Edgecombe counties. I’ll be around Raleigh with my sons to do a little shopping to make a donation. Pop over to the closest Food Lion on your lunch break to make a donation of your own. One small act will make a big difference. By feeding a child, you’re not just filling a belly. You’re fulfilling potential by giving a child the basic foundation to learn, earn, and yearn to be curious, productive, and successful.

When someone asks at the end of the day, “What did you do to make the world better?” you’ll have a great answer.

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