Holy Week unfolds each year, its various days stations of wonder, grief and mystery.
Mid-week, the time is especially liminal: Good Friday approaches, a bearer of pain and darkness. Easter seems far off. We are tempted to get on with business as usual, whatever that might hope to be.
But this in-between time, this time of wonder and perhaps doubt and maybe even anger and grief–this time is crucial to us. And you know enough about the holy weeks of your life to know that Good Fridays come when they come, usually unbidden.
In the rush to Easter, the long Good Fridays of our life can get overlooked. Not to mention the times when our energy for life, our hopes and plans, are entombed. Sometimes, we are on pause, and it is not a quiet pause.
My husband Robert sends out daily emails of spiritual reflection. In a recent one he quotes from what he feels to be the best resource he has read about grief and loss in over 40 years of ministry: A book by Paul Bennett, called "Loving Grief." (Bennet was prompted to write after losing his mother, father and wife to death in just over a year). www.lovinggrief.com
Bennet writes about death as a "veto"... a particularly clear, arrow-like analogy:
"But death, by vetoing my plan and showing me what was truly impossible, also taught me a lesson about what is possible. It showed me that I had a choice, that I always had a choice. I could give up imagining that the old path is the only path, and accept the overwhelming evidence that I do not know where my path is leading. Death showed me that I can accept not knowing and simply step forward with trust in myself, with trust in those around me, and trust in Providence."
As that in-between time between despair and hope, between Jesus saying farewell and coming again in a new way... Holy Week brings to mind the vetoes we are struggling with, the deaths to people or to our plans that we are amidst.
And... at the same time... there is that faint suggestion, that whiff of... perhaps another, greater path and plan. No words yet for this. The stone has yet to be rolled away. The call for us all is to "accept not knowing and simply step forward." May we all pray for, and accompany, each other, step by courageous step.