The day before yesterday was just a regular Friday with a regular trip from Bluffton to the Island for a regular afternoon bridge game.
Except it wasn’t. Regular, that is.
I always listen to NPR on my way across the bridges and last Friday afternoon was no different. But what an extraordinary and exceptional little voyage it turned out to be.
That afternoon was the funeral service of Clementa Pinckney in Charleston, SC.
In those 30 minutes in the car, listening to the radio, I went from full-body goose-bumps as the church soprano reached a note that stopped your heart, to admiration for Senator Pinckney’s many accomplishments, to listening to a requiem that could not be matched by any composer, to eulogies that turned phrases upside down and touched your soul, and stories that got you laughing out loud and then put a foot on your throat and caught you up short in the loss.
I was grateful for the lack of traffic on the bridges, for the sun in the sky, for going to a place I felt comfortable.
But, at that moment, I simply wanted to be there, in that arena. To be in the moment. To let it take me over, give me grace and release me from the sadness. And the madness.
To feel, sway, hold, be held, sing, cry, laugh, remember, renew, forgive.
But I wasn’t there.
So I’ll listen again, and again, to the music and the stories. I’ll listen to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and be moved, as always, by its evocative and melancholic themes. I’ll listen to the harp and the alto sax play together in the Requiem and marvel at the creation of such a piece of music. I’ll remember the story told by one of his college buddies about their treasured, fun-loving, and life-long friendship. I’ll do all that.
But, I still wish I could have been there.
And I wish they were all still here.