Today is the day, the amazingly heart-breaking day that our Savior dies for our sins. It is the day that we have known to be coming, the day that all of this reflection and introspection, of all of everything, really, is about.
Contemplating Jesus' death is part of our curing process. Spending a little time meditating on what Jesus' death means, on coming to grips that God loves us so much that he sent his son to break through the confusion, the daily hurt, the knowledge of this act, is overwhelming. Like the soap, quietly curing under my bed, I know that my mind and my heart needs to sit quietly with this act of love, I need to soak it in, let it change me, let it cure the hurt of this life, and ultimately my own purpose will become clear if I sit with this love long enough.
In our last retreat, my friend Carol and I ended the day with a beautiful reading out at the outdoor altar at San Damiano Retreat. The altar sits amongst old oak trees, and a lovely outdoor Stations of the Cross. Our small group of young adults had been an amazing group, sharing, contributing, opening up that day. We had created walked the stations of the cross, and we had meditated on Lent. Out at the altar, we played Laura Story's "Blessings" to close the day.
As the music started, one young woman sitting near me let out a quiet gasp, and whispered, "no." And that's when I caught her eyes. She looked like a frightened child, her eyes big, brimming with tears. Whatever this song reminded her of was too fresh, too hard, too much for her to sit with. She started to cry.
Another girl, sitting next to her said, "Brianna, it's OK, it's OK." And she put her arm around Brianna, and held her close, while Brianna cried.
It was a touching moment. I don't know what Brianna was going through, but I know what that moment feels like. When emotions are too intense, when you wish you could run and hide, do anything to get away from the pain, but you understand that the harsh reality is that the only way to deal with it is to go right through it.
This is how Good Friday feels to me. To think about the true occurrence of this day, about what happens to this man, this Son of Man, this Son of God, is too much. My brain grasps the concept, but honestly, I can not spend too much time with Jesus' death. My heart breaks with Jesus when he calls out "Father, Father, Why have you Foresaken me?" I can not comprehend the hows and whys of humanity allowing this to happen, of a real man dying, of the intense sadness of the scene.
The good news is that we do not have to sit with this sadness for long. This death is an act of love for each of us is like no other, a love that stares death in eye, a love that eventually triumphs over death itself. Love wins in the end. And, through it all, our Father is there, he is always there, he is like Brianna's friend, sitting silently beside us as we cry through the pain, assuring us that we are OK, holding us as we are eternally cured.
Don't surrender your loneliness
Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My need of God