Thursday, April 5, 2012

Good Friday

She didn’t have to say a word. I took one quick dip in her eyes, and they told me the whole, sad story. She knew my name and I learned hers and in an instant we knew each other deeply. We have both buried our young sons, and these tragedies are the ties that bind. As we held each other during this divinely orchestrated meeting last weekend, I muttered the simple words, the only words that mean much at all in such a sacred moment, “Me too. Yes, me too.” 

On this Good Friday, the weight of the day presses heavily on my chest. I feel a puddle of tears mounting behind my eyes. Yes, these eyes are fixed on the Cross and to the Christ. My thoughts attempt to wrap themselves around the love that drove this King to death and the passion that led Him to pour out blood. But on this Good Friday, while my eyes and thoughts center on Jesus, my heart is drawn to his mother, Mary. 

I know so little about this woman, this saint. I know not her sense of humor or preferences in food. I don’t know her personality type. Was she loud or reserved? Did she walk into a room and fill it with such glory that all heads and hearts were instantly drawn to her? Or did she quietly slip in, settle into her place in the periphery and draw heads and hearts subtly one at a time? Was she an anxious mother, always worried about dangers and “what-ifs”? Or perhaps she was more laid back, confident and trusting, selective about her stressors. I can hold the facts that I have about her life in the palm of my small hand. Yet I know that this woman, this saint, was also just a mother who buried her young son. And on this Good Friday, this is all I need to know to understand her deeply. As my eyes are fixed on that Cross and my heart drifts to this mother, in this most sacred moment, I whisper to her the only simple words that I know to say, “Me too. Yes, me too.”

For centuries, theologians and scholars have studied the events of the crucifixion and the significance of Jesus’ death. Poets and artists have portrayed the depths of His passion poured out on the cross through words and paints. Priests and pastors have proclaimed the power of His sacrifice citing Old Testament promises made and New Testament promises kept. Hymns have been written, and praises have been sung. But on this Good Friday, my first one since burying my son, I am sure of one thing. When Jesus cried out in pain and despair, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” He stepped into the darkest and deepest pain that history will ever know. And He chose this pain so that as He hears my own cries of despair, He will know me deeply and be able to whisper these simple words, “Me too. Yes, me too.”