Waikiki, March 28, 2012
One of the things I noticed while I was in Honolulu was that half hour or so before sunset, how the crowds would gather to watch the sun go down. Some of us, clutching our iPhones tightly, trying to get "a good shot".
But many of us just sit or even stand there, watching it happen.
What are we doing just then, I wonder? What is it about the sun setting that makes you want to stop whatever you're doing and just watch.
There's certainly a sobriety to the moment. It's not like fireworks on the 4th of July. People get quiet. They grow still. There's a sense of something ending.
And yet it's lovely. We don't exactly get sad when the sun sets -- which come to think of it is actually a little unexpected. You're standing before this life sized (actually, billions of times bigger than human life sized) metaphor for our own mortality, and what do we do? We sigh with quiet satisfaction. You could say "Amen", but why bother? It's already out there.
I don't want to draw too close a parallel to our Good Friday, because that moment is anything but peaceful, restful, quiet, a sense of things being as they should. But maybe there's a sort of "Holy Week promise" in the sunset that, no matter how we experience the particulars of our own mortality, what is to come in that final sense, the last breath exhaled, is lovely, blessed.