On this Good Friday morning I woke with a weight. It was a heaviness in my words, my thoughts, my movements. I would like to say it came from my intense reflection upon the last day of Jesus, the depth of the sacrifice he would make.
But truthfully, this morning I am brought back to the mornings of my parent’s deaths from cancer, nine years apart. On each day we were visited by the hospice volunteers and told that it was “going to be soon.” What do you say in those moments, what do you do in the meantime? Has everything been said? Has everything been done before I find myself without this person who has been my beginning, my nurturer, my friend?
So the remainder of the day is spent waiting, sitting, stirring with movements that seem so full of meaning that you can’t move without something spilling out. So we walk and talk and laugh tepidly, trying to keep all the words, history and questions of what will life look like after she’s gone, keep these words and thoughts contained within glasses we are so scared to empty.
What do we do as we wait for death? As we wait for the end of a time with our loves, our joys? Waking up this morning the death of Christ is too close. Reading of Christ begging for another cup is too close to seeing my mother’s mourning what she will not see in us as we grow. Reading of Christ’s last breath is too close to sitting with my mother as she wheezed and struggled for breath and all we could do is offer her insignificant drops of water to ease her last moments in this life. Pondering Christ’s body lowered from the cross is too close to seeing her body slowly carried down the stairs and disappearing into darkness.
Sometimes it is just too much.
But of course Christ knew this. Of course Christ knew the pain of my mother, of my father, knew the mourning they would endure not only in their last moments but throughout the course of their life and Jesus would submerge himself into it, into the the waters of our suffering.
So as this weight follows me through this day, my prayer is that this proximity of Jesus and my parents, of Jesus with their pain and our family’s loss might persist. I pray that it might persist in the questions of Saturday, but even more, that the absence of Friday might be enveloped with presence on Sunday. I pray that my parents’ closeness to Christ in their last days became an intimate union of life with the Father, Son and Spirit where there is no gap between questions and answers, longing and fulfillment, brokenness and healing, where these cups of our lives are ever pouring out and being filled within the fountain of God’s life.
And I pray that they are waiting, hoping for me and all those who remain in time with questions that are so difficult to answer.