Well, now that I’ve experienced it, I can tell you there are hardly words to describe how amazing a total solar eclipse can be. Yesterday, we traveled to Russellville, Kentucky to watch it happen. Truly, that was one of the most beautiful and spectacular things I’ve ever seen in my life. The moment of totality, when it all locks into place, is exhilarating. I love that everyone cheered and then made sounds of wonder. We were collectively mesmerized.
But also, long before we got to that moment, the day was really meaningful and fun. Lots of folks gathered at the Logan County Public Library for the viewing in Russellville. We arrived at 7 AM. People were already there, and throughout the next few hours many more came. It was a good number of people, but there was enough space outside for people to spread out. We spent a lot of hours together, waiting.
And I noticed that the stranger barrier just kind of came down. People were in a super good mood, glad to welcome people from a lot of different places. There was a lot of kindness. There were a lot of conversations. There were a lot of connections made. It was really refreshing.
Perhaps recognizing that it was a special day, people made a more intentional effort to connect well with each other. It was beautiful to watch. We didn’t solve any of the complex problems before our nation or world, but for a while, I think people felt safer with each other.
And that made me think of this:
Connections matter. The way we relate matters.
I don’t believe that mere kindness solves all our problems. Far from it. We need more than that. We can’t dismantle and heal the impacts of white supremacy, for instance, by just being nicer. Repspectability politics and tone policing can also be very harmful, so let’s not go there.
But I do believe that greater kindness cultivates greater relational safety, and this allows people to bring their more energized, grounded, and convicted selves to solving problems.
So those connections you make today might do much more than you know. You might lay the groundwork for something greater.
– Renee Roederer