A Reflection on the In-between Days
“…I often feel like someone from the Book of Lamentations. The best thing I have heard lately is the Christian writer Barbara Johnson’s saying that we’re Easter people living in a Good Friday world. I don’t have the right personality for Good Friday, for the crucifixion: I want to skip ahead to the resurrection. … In Jesus’ real life, the resurrection came two days later, but in our real lives, it can be weeks, years, and you never know for sure that it will come. I don’t have the right personality for the human condition, either. But I believe in the resurrection, in Jesus’ and in ours. The trees, so stark and gray last month, suddenly went up as if in flame, but instead in blossoms and leaves- poof!”
– Anne Lamott’s Plan B - Further Thoughts on Faith
The parish schedule for Holy Week that stretches over four days presents a very different calendar than the one I have followed during other seasons of life. For years I have participated in the dark-hour service of His death, and then celebrated Easter at sunrise with my family on a hill somewhere. This year it’s appropriately different. I am grateful for in-between time because lately, this is the space that I fill.
I am between the painful death and miracle of resurrection.
On this rainy Saturday afternoon, I contemplate how Jesus’ friends must have felt after the burial, a mournful day following an embarrassing and heart-wrenching death. They watched the blood and water pour out of the side of the man that they had believed would save them. They had hoped he would free them from political oppression. There he was, their hope and their friend limp, lifeless. The man, who they had fished with, camped out under the stars with, had parties with, celebrated, danced, talked, laughed, cried and walked with.
I cannot imagine that today, the day between death and the crazy miracle (that they didn’t know was going to happen) was pleasant. I expect that his friends where numb and disillusioned and shocked like I feel after attending a funeral of a young friend who’s life held so much potential. It’s a numbing kind of pain, a kind of ghost that makes every empty chair a gaping hole where they used to be. I cannot imagine that they were out playing golf, or picnicking under the blossoms. It was a can’t-bear-to-get-out-of-bed day. The kind of day when even coffee doesn’t look appetizing, and sunlight seems like a mockery of your existence.
I am reassured by the fact that this day exists, that there is the space between the severe shock of death and the miracle on the other side. Because much of life is actually like today. It’s the messy space in-between. The day you don’t know if it’s safe to trust that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And the hope you cling to seems more like a cold mist then a warm blanket. Those days where your goal is to just get through the awake hours with the thought that enough of them strung together will get you to a better place.
I can stare at the calendar on my kitchen wall and see Jesus’ happy-ending marked with a picture of a cross and an Easter egg. I know that it happened, just as I am sure that my resurrection will happen too. I am not always convinced it will happen fully while I am on earth, but I do believe it’s possible.
So, while a miracle dangles in the distance, I am just grateful for today- a day that puts my story in Jesus’. I am here with him in the in-between space flanked by death and a big surprise.