The last post I wrote had to do with dust and ashes.
I sat with friends and family who had to say goodbye. And in that saying goodbye, there were so many different kinds of grief. There was the grief of death – that someone had died. But the lingering grief is the one that most people don’t talk about. It’s the grief that comes in a million little deaths. The death of dreams.
I’ve had to watch people I love desperately have to figure out a whole new way to live. The death of the “first call” – you know the call you always make immediately when you want to share some news? Or the death of the summer plans, when you have to start thinking about new things to do with the time you already had requested off.
So every little death adds up and it’s like grief keeps rippling over you in waves. Like the anti-orgasm. Instead of life and joy and love, it’s just pain and sorrow and doubt.
So you move on. And you keep on keeping on.
So when I think about Good Friday, and what it is supposed to symbolize, I have to look at grief all over again. How did God grieve? What about Jesus’ grief? The story is saturated with not only pain and suffering and death, but betrayal and fear and hypocrisy. Blood, sweat, tears. A million other authors have written about the pain and humiliation of the crucifixion. I don’t feel like repeating it. Because it doesn’t sit well with me. I’d like to believe that I’m different, that I wouldn’t have abandoned my best friend, my deepest love, the one I would claim to die to follow… I’d like to believe that I would have loved him. That if it had been Aaron on that cross, I wouldn’t have been afraid.
But I’m really weak. I’m so unbelievably fragile and I don’t always have the strength to stand with those I love. I don’t always even REMEMBER to text or call the people I love and tell them so. Would I have been a John or Mary sitting at the foot of the cross, or would I have been a Peter.
I know that in the past, I’ve even been a Judas. Betraying God even while I kiss Him on the cheek.
How does any of this make sense or even translate remotely to good?
What was God thinking? I mean, how does His grief even begin to become imaginable? Looking at the only perfect person, His only Son, and allowing Jesus the choice of moving into self-sacrificial love. Did He cry when he saw the hands pierced? Remembering the tiny fingers that held onto Mary & Joseph’s fingers when he couldn’t even speak? Did it move Him to see the weight of the world – pain, suffering – resting on His only Son’s shoulders? Did He grieve the million tiny little deaths that followed? All the things that Jesus would never experience – like growing old and having grandchildren?
When my friend died, he spent a number of hours on life support. My husband said something that rattled me to my core
He must have seen something for her that was so glorious that he knew he had to let her go in order to give her the future she deserved.
Was that what happened on that day? Did the Father see something so glorious that He knew that He had to let go in order to give us the future we deserved?
I can’t imagine what it was like to live before that day. Before GRACE. Before self-sacrificial love set the precedent for who God is.
Because the reality of God is self-sacrificial, tender, world-changing LOVE. It’s the kind of thing that changes the world.
It’s the kind of thing that looks at the grief of the cross, and says…
For the glory in front of this action, for the way in which it will change people for the better, for the LOVE that this extends to overcome evil in the world…
For these things, I will let go of my expectations, my plans, my priorities. I will surrender and trust that this death means something.
And because of all of that, today is called “Good Friday.”
And because of all of that, I took the mess of my life, all the disasters, the horrible things I’ve done to people, and the horrible things done to me. And because of all of that, I can let go and say…
For the glory set before me, I will let go of myself and live thoroughly in self-sacrificial love.
It is always worth it.