A year ago today I drove 570 miles to Nashville, Tennessee to start life in a place where I knew only two people. I took these picture when I rolled into town in my packed-up Honda Civic. The air was humid, the rest stop was playing Dolly Parton, and I’d never been more excited, scared, clueless, or hopeful than I was that day.
A couple days later was my first day at the job I moved there for. It was also the day of the Total Solar Eclipse. Nashville was in a zone of totality, meaning the Moon would completely cover the disk of the Sun. Around lunchtime, I wandered outside to watch the Eclipse with my brand new co-workers on the lawn of a graveyard – sort of an odd place I suppose.
The phenomenon of the eclipse was quite the moment – simultaneously terrifying and awe-inspiring. In retrospect, the eclipse was a fitting beginning to that season of life. My time in a totally new place was often simultaneously terrifying and awe-inspiring. It felt like the stages of the eclipse – light to dark to light again – and all in a short window of time (9 months). When I experienced a lack control over many if not all aspects of my life, it often felt like God had put me in the dark. It was overwhelming, encompassing. But out of these moments of total dependence on God came the most formative and beautiful experiences.
Though I didn’t stay in Nashville long, the impact of that short season will stick with me forever, sort of like the memory of seeing the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 from the lawn of a graveyard. Such a strange start to a life changing journey. But I couldn’t have picked a better one. A more sobering one. A more grounding one.
A year ago, I had no idea what would lie ahead. Where I’d be sitting today. What I’d do to put food on the table and what dreams would still be stirring in my heart and what ones have been laid to rest. I had no idea how much dark and light that year would take me through, or how God would use it all.
But here we are – 500 miles north in the still-humid air of Eastern Ohio. This is a season and change I did not foresee, but one that holds the same kind of anticipation and expectancy. But this time, I know a little more than I did before. I know that it’s okay not to know what’s to come . That it’s okay to have a bit of broken heart because it makes the spirit malleable to formed into the person God designed me to be.
These lines from Wendell Berry say it so well:
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
― Wendell Berry
Whatever season you are entering in to or continuing today, know this: even in the darkest moments where you feel the totality of fear, the dawning of a new sun awaits. Hope eclipses all.