April 14, 2017 (day 45)
I went to my first Good Friday service many years ago in Williamsburg, VA. I was new to church as an adult, in search of meaning, community, forgiveness, and sanctuary. A stay at home mom, feeling a bit lost. Not exactly what I had planned on or expected. Loving it and not loving it and not sure if I was supposed to say that out loud. At odds with Sunday and all that I craved and all that I tried to squeeze into that one day. Family. Rest. Spirit. Brunch. Yard work. Recreation. Togetherness. Solitude. Home improvement. Self improvement. And always the laundry. It was a tall order.
Our minister at the time had done a sabbatical in Bethlehem and brought back a varied Stations of the Cross Service. It was all new to me. And for the first time it began to sink in that no one knew on Friday that Easter was coming. Devastation. Darkness. Betrayal. Fear and sadness. It changed me as I moved through the process/pilgrimage more personally. My son was young and often wore an army jacket with his beloved Indiana Jones hat, even carrying a whip. To church. And the minister would smile and end with his “Life is short and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us…” blessing, often adding one on one afterwards that some day I would be sad when the costume disappeared.
It did eventually, and so did my time at church. (Not my time with God, goodness, capital L love who is everywhere.) Mostly because of work but not always. So fast forward 15 or 16 years later, and I find myself craving again. Different geography and empty nest. I met a nice couple at the dog park who somehow circled through conversation about church. I still love that dog is God backwards or vice versa depending on where you start. It was September and I made my way through those red doors four months later thanks to one of my best pals who encouraged me to try a church in the neighborhood. (Ah yes, someone recommended one…)
I knew I was home almost immediately. No words for that really, just knowing and ever so grateful for the stars and angels aligning.
Tonight the service was meaningful and hard, the music penetrating to my core. Silence and solemn and part of the journey. I do not claim to be an expert in anything biblical, and do a lot of listening and depending on the voice of whomever is speaking to bring relevance and meaning to my life and the world as it is today. I need that. Depend on it actually. I have read some beautiful pieces today about Good Friday by my blogging dream team. And I address it tonight because I pause to remember situations I thought were the end. Times of angst and pain and clouds. I often did not see Easter Sunday or some form of answer, relief, silver lining coming. I also have a gift that was given to me of faith. Maybe only a mustard seed, but something that says, “this too shall pass”, “all will be well again”, “god only has one shoe and grace bats last” (thank you Anne Lamott).
I’m still missing my little brown guide and companion of 12 years. I miss those days of a boy and his imagination following us everywhere we went. I am surrounded by people who are grieving, praying for health and healing, facing uncertainty, new chapters, parents declining, job loss. The ongoing list. And this isn’t the end. That little brown dog continues to guide me. The sun rises and sets and will rise again. There are lessons in the darkness. I needed therapy to learn that one. That boy is still adventurous, sweet, and an avid film enthusiast. And our minister here often speaks the same blessing our Williamsburg minister said each week. “…so be swift to love make haste to be kind. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Full circle and amen.