Thursday, April 08, 2010

Over Spring Break I was honored to travel with my daughter's high school choir to compete in a festival in San Francisco. I had a wonderful time and they took home top honors and an invitation to sing at Carnegie Hall. Have you been to San Francisco? Have you ever gone with 50 teenagers?

On the day we arrived, our tour bus dropped us off on one side of the Golden Gate Bridge and picked us up on the other. We walked across, me staying nearby enough for photography purposes, but not so near as to cramp my daughter's style. I was disappointed that I forgot my camera, but took many pictures with my phone.

Of course I was struck by the beauty of the sparkling bay surrounded by mountains, the soaring orange towers of the bridge against the blue sky.

In the middle of the bay sit the eerily intriguing ruins of Alcatraz. On the audiotour, a former prisoner described how the wind would often carry to them the sounds of music and celebration from the city, taunting the prisoners with the joys of liberty.

Then I saw this sign and remembered that this bridge is a suicide mecca; over 1200 people have thrown themselves to a beautiful, tragic end. The bridge was lined with these and emergency telephones, imploring the desolate to call them. They were ready to help.

It seems the greater the surrounding beauty, the more insurmountable the pain of our suffering.

I was with 50 teenagers walking across that bridge. I know of at least one who was in emotional agony. I wanted to hug them all. Life is beautiful and hard.