The day the eclipse was…eclipsed
For once, it seemed like I was in the right place at the right time. Palangkaraya, Indonesia. One of a handful of places in the world where a rare full solar eclipse could be seen last week.
And I’m a girl who can’t resist Right Moments.
Tourists and scientists from around the world were spending thousands of dollars to fly here. Many guest houses had been booked for over a year. And I get to live here.
Of course, we weren’t supposed to actually look at the eclipse. But that didn’t stop the town from planning three days of festivals to celebrate.
Our family crafted our own safe eclipse viewing tool out of a cardboard box, made a few “eclipse” snacks, found the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on You Tube to play in the background, and invited a few friends over for the early-morning eclipse viewing.
But then the rain started.
And it felt like our Right Place for a Rare Eclipse was being, well…eclipsed by bad weather.
Just a few months earlier, Palangkaraya was certainly the wrong place to be. And it seemed we’d picked the wrong time to move there. We landed in this Borneo town to the sight of burning and smoke, an annual problem that was at its worst this past year. Then just when I’d finally figured out how to drive to the grocery store—only a month after we’d moved there—we had to evacuate due to the toxic air quality counts. I wondered what we were doing moving to a place where some months each year, it was hard to even breathe.
So much of this overseas life involves a mixture of that right time-place/wrong time-place. A med-evac call to save a life? And we can do it? Right place. The months-long grounding of flights due to changing government regulations? Wrong time.
My kid’s meltdown during a homeschool math lesson? Definitely wrong time. A chance for a heart-to-heart about the real reason she says she hates math—the fact that she’s lonely? Right place. Every time.
Though clouds covered the fully eclipsed sun, we went outside, and in a matter of seconds, the sky was transformed—dark as night.
I looked around at my husband, kids and friends, all gaping at the sky in that moment I’ll never forget. And that’s when I remembered what I’ve spent years here learning. The darkest of times transform me in all the right ways.