January 6, 2012


Last night, Venus crossed in front of the sun. From our vantage point here on Earth, Venus was a slowly-moving black spot on the sun for a few hours, a little piece of darkness that overshadowed the overwhelming brightness of the star behind it.

I watched the Transit of Venus at Varsity Stadium, at an event held by the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics. There were hundreds of us there; we were all given special glasses and special instructions, and were surrounded by knowledgeable astronomers and enthusiasts who talked us through the significance of the event we were witnessing. It was majestic, beautiful, and completely nerdy. I loved it.

Compared to the sun, Venus is tiny. The fact that millions of people around the world gathered to watch a tiny ball create a shadow on a massive ball of gas is impressive; nobody spoke about the sun, but everyone was talking about the little black spot caused by Venus.

Sometimes, the bad things that happen to us — when the people we love hurt us more than we’ve ever been hurt and we spiral into a well of despair — are like Venus: small in the grand scheme of things, but causing a noticeable shadow on the light that is in our life. It’s at those times that we notice the black spot, the darkness that is passing through, and not the light that shines behind it.

It’s important to remember that the dark spot is truly just passing through, and that when it is gone, the sunshine remains. I’m trying to remember that while right now all I can think of is the darkness and shadow, there is a brightness around me that I should take notice of, too.