Good Grief, It’s Good Friday!

Hard to believe that today is Good Friday. I thought that the saying was “time flies when you’re having fun”. Nothing seems like too much fun right now. And here it is – Good Friday. Another year has gone by.

I’m on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Today marks one year since our Mom passed away. Holy Week was important to her and to our family. Watching Holy Thursday Mass yesterday on my i-Pad just didn’t feel quite right. I’m grateful for the technology and I wouldn’t want to put anyone at risk by attending Triduum services, but still…

So I’m grieving today. Missing Mom. Missing Holy Week. Missing our friends. Missing my family, especially our children and grandchildren. Worried about our Dads in their isolation.

I’m grieving for friends and family that have recently lost loved ones. There can be no funerals. No gatherings. No holding on to one another. Just plans for memorials “in the future”. I’m grieving today for the nearly 100,000 victims of COVID-19 worldwide. Many of these souls will remain faceless, nameless statistics. God help us. God be with us.

Lucy (of Peanuts fame) often would exclaim, “Good grief!”. Her ire was always reserved for poor hapless Charlie Brown. After she would shout at him, his response was often an exasperated, “Good grief” in return.

Good grief – what a funny expression. What is good about grief?

I’ve been struggling with this and praying about it. I’ve come to the conclusion that grief indeed can be a good thing. It can be healing. It can be cleansing. Certainly no one wants to grieve. Surely no one wants to deal with loss. But grief allows us to own our feelings. Grief allows us to love beyond death. And everyone must grieve in their own way; in their own time.

I suppose Good Friday is a good day to grieve. If we’re Christians we can grieve the suffering of our Savior today.

Regardless of our belief traditions, it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to breakdown a little. It’s normal to want to hold on to those whom we love. It’s human to feel the pain when we know that we must let go. But we can also be assured that death is not the end. Our loved ones remain with us in spirit. We see them in the sunrise and the sunset. We see them in the stars at night and in the clouds by day. We hear them in the songs of birds and the rustling of leaves. We feel them in gentle breezes and the warmth of the sun on our skin.

And if remembering and loving them until it hurts is grief, then I suppose it is good.

Peace,

Denis

Good Friday

Our six year-old granddaughter Anna was retelling what she knows about the story of Jesus’ passion and death. Her three year-old brother Noah said, “Anna, I don’t like this story. It’s scary!” Her reply: “Wait Noah, it has a happy ending!”

This is a somber day for most Christians as we contemplate Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us. As we join our suffering with His, let us never forget that there is indeed a happy ending.

Peace,

Denis

 

 

“Good Friday – what’s that?”

Today our office is closing early. It’s Good Friday and the boss has decided to shut down early – more of an “Easter weekend” thing than a “Good Friday” thing but because I’m a Catholic Christian, and I view today as a day of solemnity, I appreciate the gesture. It will afford me some quiet time in prayer – always needed.

I know that many people in our world (and office) are not Christian and I support their right to freedom of (from) religion. But I’ll admit that I was shocked (a little) this morning when I went around informing the staff that we would be closing early. Here’s what I encountered: one staff member wanted to know why we would be leaving early. When I explained that today is Good Friday, she said “What’s that?” I was dumbfounded. This twenty-something had no idea what Good Friday was or what it meant or that Easter was this coming Sunday. I felt a certain amount of indignation!

Just to be clear – this young woman was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri; her parents are not first generation immigrants; English is not a second language; there is no obvious cultural or religious reason why she wouldn’t have at least a cursory understanding of what Good Friday is or Easter means. And yet for her there was complete and utter ignorance of this most important Christian holiday.

That got me thinking. How ignorant am I of other religions? How often do I assume that everyone is Christian or at least understands why my Christian observances are so important to me? Who am I to lord my Christianity over others? I believe that a message was sent to me today: be more tolerant; more accepting; less judgmental; more Christ-like. After all, Jesus gave us plenty of examples of reaching out to those considered “unworthy” during His time here on Earth. Remember the Samaritans? The woman at the well? Tax collectors?

So this Good Friday I will remember that we are all created in His image and I will pray that I am cured of my blindness and prejudice and can encounter Him everywhere that I journey in my life.

‘Lord, by your Cross and Resurrection you have redeemed the world’ – all of us.

(Not just middle-aged, white guys like me).

Peace,

Denis