Monday, 1:29 P.M.—my coonhound is at my feet. The eclipse is seven minutes away. I am reading emails.
“Dear Sean, I’m at a Georgia rest stop, typing on my phone… I just had to tell someone that I finally DID IT!”
She did it.
She left the man who’s been abusing her for thirteen years. He broke her cheekbone once. He busted her neck a few months ago.
“For a long time, I kept saying, ‘He’s not a bad guy,’ And I defended him… Yeah, I know, I’m the dumbass stereotypical victim, right?”
Wrong. She’s no stereotype. She’s a graduate from the University of Alabama, a nice-looking girl, and one tough biscuit.
And now she’s free.
She made the drive to South Carolina to watch the eclipse with her sister.
Meet Jaden—he writes to say that he just got married to Yasmine.
Jaden is twenty-one. So is Yasmine. They wanted to go somewhere special for their honeymoon. They scheduled time off work, reserved a hotel room, saved money. Two days ago, their car broke down.
“My wife and me both don’t have parents,” says Jaden. “That’s part of why we understand each other. My dad’s dead and my mom’s in jail. Yasmine never met her real parents…
“This was supposed to be our for-real honeymoon, during the eclipse, but now we’re making it a stay-cation. We’re a little disappointed… But I want her to know that I’m so blessed and grateful and I really love her, can you give Yasmine a shout out?”
Then there’s Charles:
“Hey Sean, just want to invite you to my eclipse party if you’re near Little Rock, Arkansas, it’s going to be awesome!”
Charles has no legs. He hunts turkey, dove, deer, and squirrel. A drunk driving accident did this to him a decade ago.
“My dad was driving,” writes Charles. “I don’t remember anything but waking up and they said my dad was gone.”
He started hunting again—only one year after being introduced to his wheelchair. He rolled along trails with a rifle.
Since then, he has been learning to use carbon-fiber prosthetic legs.
“…We got plenty of beer man, it’s going to be a cool party.”
I don’t doubt.
“Dear Sean,” writes Samantha. “I was a teacher for twenty-six years…”
Samantha retired this year because of health reasons. She hasn’t told anyone that she has cancer. She doesn’t want to ruin this week for her family. Her husband took everyone to Tennessee to see the eclipse.
“I’d appreciate you asking people to pray for me.”
Samantha. Consider it done.
T-minus one minute until eclipse time. And here I am, writing you. Ellie Mae and I are about to step outside and view the magnificent event through twenty-dollar NASA-approved plastic glasses.
The moon will block the sun—it will be horrifying and pretty at the same time.
I don’t know where you are right now. I don’t know if you’re happy or sad. But I know one thing. No catastrophe, no broke-down car, no abusive person, no shallow bank account, no past-due bills, no breast cancer can block out the sun. At least not forever.
And I have one more thing to say:
Yasmine, Jaden loves you more than life itself.