Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend Justice Scalia's public viewing at the Supreme Court.
I am still in awe.
I am still processing.
Did that really happen?
Let me back up for a sec.
If you know me... you know that I am not at ALL in the know with anything related to government, politics and the like. I am one of those people that would get quizzed randomly by Jimmy Fallon's people about how a bill becomes a law and all that and... fail. Then the video would go viral with questions like, "what is wrong with the young people of this country?"
So, just know that.
I heard the news of the Justice's death by way of a text from Martha:
Sad? Embarrassing? Perhaps. But, this is me. (And thank God I'm not alone! Heeeeey Steph!)
Anyway. You can imagine that I didn't know much about the late Justice. I have learned things here and there throughout this week, of course. Overwhelmingly, I heard what a wonderful, faithful man he was, and how much he touched the people in his life.
Ok... fast forward to Friday. I was texting with a friend about getting together. She was saying that she was going to the Supreme Court and may be available after.
Supreme Court? Um, what are you doing there? Should I know what's happening?
Justice Scalia's public viewing, of course. I should go, she says! It's only a 0.5 mile walk from Union Station (where I park/get the employee shuttle for work)!
Um. Sure. Why not?! History and all of that.
So, I went. I walked from Union Station to the Supreme Court, ya know... like all the people in the city do. Walk to places. To me, if felt very adult and adventurous.
Man, I gotta get out more.
I walked up to the building and there are a TON of people. TONS. All for this one, great man. Beautiful.
I met up with my friend and we had to walk blocks and blocks and blocks to get to the end of the line. And then... we waited. After an hour of the line kind of moving but mostly not moving, my friend texted her friend that works for one of the justices... and was at work. At that moment.
10 minutes later we go through the employee entrance and are going through security.
We go up the elevator to the floor WHERE ALL THE CHAMBERS ARE! Receive a mini tour. See the fireplace (apparently it's a big deal. Obviously). Everything was so grand! It was surreal.
Before we know it, we were on our way to the Great Hall.
Everything was moving so fast. I couldn't catch up to the moment. I was still so happy I wasn't in the cold anymore! I had no idea what to expect for the evening. I have never stepped foot near the Supreme Court building and here I was standing INSIDE, just having visited some chambers. I didn't know I would "enjoy" (not the best word to use under the circumstances, but go with me) all of it until I was IN it. It was just all too much.
I kept looking at my friend with this "is this real life? what is happening?" look. Because, really. Was this real life? And, was this actually happening?
Yes. And, yes.
I was very quickly brought back to the moment, when a young guy saw someone he knew in our little group- he began to cry. And my heart broke.
Not only did our country lose a great man, but all of these people inside this building had lost a coworker, a mentor, a friend, and from what I hear, an encourager, supporter, etc. His family lost a husband, father, and grandfather.
We rounded the corner to the Great Room. And I was so overcome with awe. The room is indeed great. Bright. Quiet. There, Justice Scalia's casket, draped with an American flag, lie in the middle.
We moved in front of the casket for a few moments. I prayed for him. And ask him to pray for us. We need his prayers so very much.
Just as I was about to walk out the doors, I can feel like the ladies are not with me. I turn back, and the changing of the guards was happening. Amazing.
And then we were on the steps of the Supreme Court. Staring at one another. Overwhelmed.
I am just so humbled and honored to have been able to be part of this in some small way. I am grateful to learn about a man who has represented our country and our faith so well. I am blown away by the outpouring of love (for the most part) for this man- for this husband and father and grandfather. I hope to continue to learn more.
May you rest in peace, Justice Scalia.
And please, please pray for us and our beloved country!