Across the world, Holy Week services continue as Christians and followers everywhere remember the death and resurrection of the Messiah.
Good Friday is oft a mournful time. I have to confess that as a simple human being, I don’t understand why death had to be part of our holy walk.
My earliest memory of death was when I lost my sister. Without lingering on her loss, as it is still with me .. only those who have lost loved ones will understand, I admit it has affected my heaven view greatly. She is, I know, in heaven, for she passed before she even knew the difference between right and wrong, darkness and light.
There are times over the years when I panicked at the thought of her passing.
I was sitting in church Wednesday night, and it hit me during the Tenebrae service: Jesus saw the darkness as He walked the earth. Being in all ways man and all ways God, he not only saw all of a person’s good intentions, but the evil in the world on a level we could never see.
His friends, the commoners who followed Him, had meals with Him, walked with Him, spent time with Him, grieved His crucifixion.
This was their Friend who was closer than a brother. He was with them on their very average day. They had many conversations, disagreements, observations. They probably even sneezed.
I know that last statement was random. But really. The common life of the common person. Fatigue, hopes, dreams, wrestling with reality and the future, uncertainty.
It is one thing to lose a friend or family member to natural causes, or disease, or sudden accident.
But to watch their Friend be killed at the hands of others .. yes. Catastrophic grief.
A few days ago.
Shared my story with someone I just met and they made the comment, “You have experienced much loss in your life.”
Survivors of abuse do experience loss in a most difficult way. Time cannot be dialed back.
A turning point for me in healing from my sexual abuse that occurred from around age 7 to about age 12 was to realize that what is done is done.
The weird thing is that until I deliberately began my healing process, decades after the abuse ended, I found I had not grieved the loss of what should not have been stolen from me.
So there was that.
And as I sat in church contemplating my life, listening (years ago) to a sermon on purity and how impure people have sex before marriage, I felt even more like a freak.
Biology class was a turning point for me. “You cannot unscramble eggs,” my professor said.
Then there was a study on forgiveness at church by another woman who was a survivor. “There is nothing you can do that would serve as a great enough penalty for what happened to you.” She urged survivors to forgive: not excuse what happened, but instead of dedicating all of your energy to leveling the score (which for sure is perfectly natural), to instead focus on moving forward.
Truly, the stone will roll away from the tomb.
I feel something stirring in my spirit.
For a while, a very long while, I kept my secret inside, fearful of what the world would say of my terrible “loss.” Fearful of being “less than.” A freak.
Perhaps the greatest resurrection lesson for me has been that, according to my belief system, the same sacrificial Messiah died for my perpetrator. Because He was the One who holds accountable, it frees my hands, feet, mind, body, and spirit to pursue freedom and life.
What is in the tomb will look different for all of us. The secrets that lie there.
Archaeological digs have unearthed some fantastic things over the years. That is what happens when the stone is rolled away from our hearts.
The sun shines in .. a mystery is understood.
Today, I choose to fold the grave clothes of my season of loss, and don garments of praise for the season of freedom.
Good Friday, all.