Today started like any other day. I usually wake early, dress and pour myself a cup of coffee. I needed to let the dog out for his morning constitutional and as I was doing so I remembered from the news the night before that there was to be a lunar eclipse, which was supposed to be visible in the morning sky. Sure enough… just on top of the full moon I could see the earth’s shadow just starting creep onto the top of it.
The Dog finished with his duties and I was getting cold so I went back inside and continued my preparations for work. I took a couple of minutes to sit down and enjoy the rest of my coffee while catching up on the morning news before leaving for the day.
I was feeling a bit uneasy for some reason and couldn’t shake the thought of the lunar eclipse that was going on. I decided to put on a jacket, grabbed another cup of coffee and went outside on the porch and began to observe this rare sight.
As I did so I became keenly aware of the environment around me. It was a cold crisp morning without a cloud in the sky. All the leaves had fallen off the trees and there were only bare branches left which made a web like design on the dark morning sky. The moon and its eclipse phenomenon were visible through the branches and it was a beautiful sight.
My home is located high on the east bench of the Salt Lake valley, which affords me a great view of the valley floor. Many thousands of sparkling lights were clearly visible of a city just waking up. I could also see the grey outline of the Oquirrh Mountains across the valley in my panoramic view. This com-bined with my view of the moon through the branches was an incredibly beautiful and peaceful sight.
Even though it was quite cold I considered it would be a great time to meditate and reflect while I enjoyed this gorgeous scene. I then noticed that the shadow of the earth was creeping down the face of the moon. The curvature of the earth’s shadow was clearly visible in the face of the moon. As I watched the shadow move ever so slowly down its face, I thought about the sun, and how it had to be directly behind me in order to project the earth shadow so vividly on the moon. Then I realized that the curvature I was witnessing was actually the opposite side of the earth that I was standing on. The part of the shadow where I was located, on this planet, was not even visible yet and probably wouldn’t be before the eclipse was over. I thought about how the earth is over a quarter of a million miles away from the moon. The sun behind me is on average about 90 million miles away from the earth. These three heavenly bodies and the solar system they live in didn’t even amount to a pixel of light in the totality of the universe. Now all of the sudden I am beginning to feel very, very insignificant and I was overwhelmed with of how utterly unimportant I was in the total scheme of things.
My thoughts immediately took me back to my other life. My life with alcohol and before sobriety! I though about how big my ego was before I really understood ego, about how grandiose I was, and about all the people I had harmed, the family and friends I had disappointed, the lies I told, the things I had stolen, all the people I had hurt in one way or another, and the times I cheated as well. Even though I have often demonstrated many of the fine values I was taught by my parents, those acts could in no way justify my reprehensible actions. The guilt, shame, and remorse were always with me.
I reflected how in my teens I found I was able to mask those character defects with alcohol, which was to work well for the next twenty-five years. When I drank I just didn’t care about what I did or whom I did it to. I could justify every little lie and every bad deed. When I couldn’t I would simply drink more and it became easier to forget and bury myself in denial. I always felt guilty and remorseful, and for good reason, but I could easily mask that with alcohol as well. I began to believe my lies, which was comforting temporarily, but the overwhelming feeling of guilt and remorse never went away.
I became conscious of the moon again. The earth’s shadow was now covering about half of the moon. As I gazed around the valley floor, I noticed out of the corner of my eye the sky was starting to get light. I turned to the east and sure enough, the sun was beginning to rise. It was a beautiful sight as well and complimented the already beautiful sky. I wanted to see it all, and I became a bit frustrated because I couldn’t look to the east and west at the same time. I wished I had a better vantage point, like sitting on a star where I could witness this miracle all at once. Mornings have always been my favorite time of the day and today was certainly turning out to be one of the more exceptional ones.
I was completely overwhelmed with the beauty of the moment, and simply could not continue to think of those depressing times. My thoughts switched from chaos and despair of my old life to the good fortune of the new and how privileged and blessed I was to have the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, the guidance of the Big Book and the steps to help me become a better person. With the unity of the program, hard work on the steps, and service to those in and out of the fellowship, I am now comfortable in my own skin and I believe, a much better person than I was before.
By now the moon is almost covered with the earths shadow and has a gorgeous orange copper glow. The sun is slowly rising and the eastern sky is becoming lighter with a vivid blue hue. The moon has a hint of whitish light circling the outer edge of it. The beauty of the moment is overwhelming.
I thought of my long lasting struggle with the concept of God. Is there or isn’t there? If there is, who or what is it. Am I atheist or agnostic? Why couldn’t I believe like others say they do? In that regard I have always felt I was in a no man’s land… and alone. I was alone now but I didn’t feel alone. I felt I was witnessing something powerful.
When I redirected my attention to the final minutes of the lunar eclipse, only the very tip of the bottom of the moon is visible. It almost looked like a little tiny light bulb shining. It was as if I was being given a message. Man has created and accomplished many fantastic things through his evolution including flying to and walking on the very moon I have been observing. However, no man on this planet could ever replicate beauty I have witnessed this morning.
I have never seen a bolt of white light, nor have I heard God speak as others say they have. But that is their story and I be-lieve it is their truth. I have in the past however acknowledged that God is Love and now I also believe that God is the all-encompassing Universe. Today I am willing to accept all that the Universe, or God as I understand him, places in my life… and I act accordingly.
The moon has now dropped below the horizon and the sun has shown itself in the east. I have just enjoyed one of the most wonderful hours of my life. A new day has started and I am grateful.
I have seen God at work this morning and furthermore, I be-lieve God has been working on me for some time now without my knowing it. And for that I am extremely grateful.
Life is good.
Sign up for the Lifeline Newsletter