Ecliptic Thoughts: Combining the Ordinary to Make the Extraordinary

The town I live and practice in was in the path of totality for the eclipse this past Monday. It was a life-highlight. I watched the crescent sun fade in my black glasses to nothing. I took off my glasses to find this in the sky:


I inexplicably wanted to cry and cheer and hug everyone around me. I could see planets and stars. The temperature dropped. 11:33 a.m. became twilight. 

I can not overhype what I experienced. The exactness of everything that made it happen left me feeling the divine order of our universe. That said, after the eclipse passed, I was left thinking about the sun. It was still there, ever-present, glueing our world together high in the sky, and yet no longer the focus of the world. Galileo is attributed to have said:

“The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.”

I also thought about the moon. Due to its phases, I never think much of seeing it or not. I do notice it, finding myself looking up when I am outside at night, but again, it rarely captivates me, let alone the world.

The sun and the moon have been staples of human life for as long as human life has been a staple of this planet. Yet magic happened this past week when the two combined in the most shocking and magical natural event I have ever seen. I think ultimately that is what magic is, combining things that could not be more ordinary and in turn creating or experiencing something that could not be more extraordinary. 

As attorneys, I think unpacking the mundane and common to show relevance and importance is a winning strategy. For example, I often represent people appealing a denial of SSI or disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Success has come by not only conveying medical records to the court but how those records line up with an individual’s ability to brush his/her own teeth, go grocery shopping, or other everyday activities. Projecting the objective records onto the subjective life experience often shows a Judge who your client really is and the struggles he/she faces. 

Just like the sun and the moon came together to change my life, the common parts of my clients’ existence can align with cumbersome federal regulations and medically determinable impairments to change their lives.