Good Friday in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras, features an unbelievable demonstration that involves an astounding amount of sawdust, a huge, wooden, hand-carried bier, a small but vigorous marching band, and an approximately three-hour procession to travel about 16 blocks.
A faithful crew of artistic townsfolk rise with the sun and create a beautiful and elaborate carpet on the cobblestone streets made entirely of sawdust. The carpet lays the path for the procession through the 14 stations of the cross.
The procession is led by the senior priest who is followed by an enormous wooden bier which is carried by 16 or so men. Upon the bier is a figure of Jesus carrying the cross.
At each station of the cross, the story of that station is read along with a prayer in which all of the people join. There are even actors in costume portraying the scene as it is read in some of the stations and sometimes a choir singing as well.
I’m a very long way from home – farther than I have ever been.
Tori and I came to Honduras to spend time with our kids from whom we have been separated since we put them on a plane about 8 months ago. That’s a long time to be separated from your kids – especially for a family like ours that, in most every case, simply loves to be together.
This morning our 3 youngest boys are driving, with some assistance from a friend and brother that simply wouldn’t have it any other way, the 3+ hours to be with the huge extended family that is gathering to remember our dear Grandma Lois. And, as much as we have longed to come and spend time with these precious ones in Honduras, our hearts are a little torn at the separation from the rest of the family.
It’s not unlike the painful separation we felt when Mickey was in Honduras battling dengue fever and we just wanted to be here to help take care of him and hold Jessica up and all that we could possibly do in a moment like that. But we couldn’t get here.
Those statements seem, at first, to be contradictory. They’re not. They are both equally true for those who have made plans for such an occasion.
This week our family has had the sad and joyous privilege of saying our earthly goodbyes to Grandma Lois, or Memaw as she is often called. We’re sad that she won’t be there to hug and to cut up with. She won’t be there to offer profoundly wise counsel as she has so often to so many. She won’t be there to pray for us as we know she has faithfully done all of our lives.
But we rejoice that the frustration and suffering she endured is over.
Grandma Lois is my wife’s grandmother. Our family has been quite unusually blessed in that my kids have really known 7 of their 8 great-grandparents. We recognize the incredible rarity of such a blessing these days. And now they have 4 remaining. How rich a heritage we have been given.