Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Good Friday, Indeed

Yesterday I was blessed with the opportunity to have a day off (and not wake up at 4am) and go visit my best friend, Kristiana, in orange county. Every time I make a trip out there, I end up "overbooking" myself, cramming half a dozen visits and coffee/lunch dates into two days. I come home exhausted and feel immediately like I need to go back and spend more time with everyone.

So, this time I decided to forego the crowd and just spend the whole day with kita. (We did spend a few hours with Bethany and Eric and baby Violet in their new home. It is adorable, and exactly how I pictured it. Bethany makes me confident that one day, I, too, can be a mother and still have a career, all while unpacking boxes and being amazingly calm and self-assured. I admire her so much and am so thankful for our year of being R.A.'s together just so I can never get out of her life.)

We started out at the Brea Mall foodcourt- exciting, I know. It was a tradition of ours in college to periodically ditch class and go eat baked potatoes and salads and then shop for things like underwear or trendy 80's clothes from Forever 21. Not much has changed, except that neither of us could fathom how we used to eat that much, and we were buying somewhat more grown-up clothing. I am amazed at how some friendships keep growing with you, as if a favourite dress from childhood could keep fitting you perfectly and keep amazing you every time you wore it, as if it were the first time. I know my posts may be sappy lately, but I am so grateful for undying friendship. I know my life will probably never include living near all my dearest friends (maybe one day it will include living near two or three- a girl can dream, right?), so these brief times together are like treasures to me.

At the risk of making this post too long to keep you reading it, I must write about a happy accident I witnessed while there. After lunch, we were going to go see Bethany, and I took the wrong way. I went through downtown Fullerton, just to see all the magenta trees in bloom on Harbor. When I was a few miles from my destination, I saw a few motorcycle police go by. Then about four more. Then a police car or two parked on the side of the road. Before I knew it, firetrucks and more police were going by. I got a bit farther before I was stopped dead in traffic for fifteen minutes while the most impressive funeral procession I have ever seen went by.

Hundreds of police cars, trucks and motorcyles drove by, followed by a pack of bikers bearing American and Marine Corp flags. The hearse drove by early on, with a helicopter overhead, while firefighters stood nearby saluting. A small boy stood enraptured, while his father or brother leaned over periodically to point things out to him. It was one of those rare moments when you know you are experiencing something amazing, something you will never forget. I looked around me and every other commuter was enthralled. I was brought to tears by the sheer length of this procession. Who was this person? Both my cell phone and camera were dead, so I have no record, and could not share the moment with anyone. But it was completely awe-inspiring. It also occurred to me that had I gone the way I was supposed to, on the freeway, I would have missed all this. Then it occurred to me that it was Good Friday. I thought of Jesus, dying alone and poor. No plans for his burial, save for one generous man who gave up his own grave. Jesus, the Son of God, got no funeral procession.

After I returned home, I researched online until I found out who it was. Was it a police chief? A vet? Someone more important, a politician? No.

It was a nineteen year old marine. Stationed in Afghanistan. The only son of a police sergeant in Santa Ana, who himself wanted to join the force after his tour of duty. It broke my heart, to think of his mother, his father, following that hearse. And I felt so incredibly honored that I got to share in that, in some small, anonymous way. I was overwhelmed by grief, but also by pride, so thankful to live here, in a country that fights for noble ideas and then honors their fallen in so great a display.

Jesus, too, was an only son. Of someone who devoted His life to doing good for others, only to be repaid by losing His child.

I was thinking I should go to a Good Friday service, but I had my own, all alone stuck in traffic.

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