Friday, April 3, 2015

Between Sadness and Celebration

It’s holy week for the Christian faith and today commemorates the crucifixion of Christ. The tone of Good Friday is generally solemn and marked by loss. Easter Sunday is typically jubilant and centered on gratitude. Most of the holiday weekend focuses around those two days. But often during holy week, I reflect on the significance of Saturday. When you consider those truly transformative seasons of life, what lies between the sadness of loss and the celebration of new life?

Try to transport yourself back in time. Imagine you were one of the disciples and you gave up your entire life to follow someone and stand for an ideal. Things were going fine until they went horribly wrong. Surely your leader, your friend wouldn’t actually be killed. Didn’t he have the power to save himself? And if he didn’t, how could he save you, you wonder. Up until the last minute you believed it wouldn’t, no, it couldn’t end this way. But when it did, you were immediately forced to figure out what’s next. Now, think about the very next day. You wake up on Saturday full of grief knowing things would never be the same. You wonder why it had to go down like that. Was it worth it? What was the point? More importantly, what was next for you?
When I think about my clients’ stories, and even my own, I know what it’s like to live in a perpetual Saturday. In many ways, the worst of it is over. The person you thought you couldn’t live without is gone. The traumatic experience has passed. The illness you battled is in remission. For all intents and purposes, you’re safe again. You survived. For many, though, you’re left wondering, for what? You might not talk about "It" as much as before. You’ve learned to accept the thing you wish hadn’t happened. But you carry heaviness with you, a feeling that tells you that you’re permanently different than the person you would’ve been, had Friday never taken place.
In many ways, Saturday is harder than Friday. Whereas Friday you suffer the pain itself, Saturday you’re faced with a difficult choice. Will you see beyond your hurt to believe again? Can you open your heart to hope again? Can you not only move on from the thing you prayed would never happen to you, but can you somehow see that the plan all along was for it to work together for your good? That’s the place in between. That’s the work of Saturday- learning to look, even through tears, for the Lord's redemption.