Sunday, March 31, 2013

Why Today Needs Friday

 I read all week about the gravity of Lent and Good Friday, about ones I love who couldn't shrug off the weight of it all, couldn't stop crying, felt the visceral pull toward His wounds for them. 

As usual, I was the one crying over things more along the lines of spilled milk. 

I didn't celebrate Lent this year like I had the past two. I read post after post about people giving up sugar and changing their lives while I dipped strawberries in generic Nutella and tried not to smudge the laptop.

It made me doubt myself, feel a little defensive. Maybe my heart was wrung out or, hey - not all of us can be the sensitive soul. 

But our new pastor sent around an email saying there were 3 spots left for the Good Friday prayer vigil. I've never done a Good Friday prayer vigil before.  I missed the details last Sunday because I was at prison. But I emailed back without thinking twice. "I'll take 2:00."

The morning had been wonderful. I walked to the church with the sun on my cheeks and air that felt like a lost love, full of Mexican food so authentic that the menu was only in Spanish. Who was I to hold vigil in remembrance of the darkest day of all eternity? I'd sacrificed nothing, felt so little.

I said hello to the pastor, walked toward the sanctuary with my vest still buttoned to my chin. Pushed through the doors, got one foot in, and my insides crumbled. I told myself it was the open quiet, the stained glass streaming Spring.

But the truth is, the Holy Spirit took me in, welcomed me there, knelt with me near the floor, where my whispers were the only sound and my heart broke cleanly in gratitude. I saw the cross and didn't even have to try to feel its worth.

I'm ashamed to say there was a time I would have believed the Holy Spirit didn't live where I sat. And my heart is raw for the hidden truth that I have not loved as I should have, that I have taken the easier road of judgment when all that was really asked of me was to share what I have been given. It was gift and pain, sitting there in the quiet, knowing I was the reason for all of it, then reflecting on that incalculable love.

I am ramshakle, dusty, split at the seams, cracked at the corners. I'm the tiny house that I can't push out of my head, the one with the door I may never have the courage to knock. I'm the prisoner paying for his crimes while he tries to forget them. I'm the girl who can't stop telling lies. I am the one who clenches both fists around so much less than what she was made for. I'm the house covered in vines. I'm the domestic disturbance. The filthy child. The haunted mom. I'm the girl begging to be loved but suspicious that I'm not quite worth it. I'm in all this stuff that surrounds me.

God brought us here, and I've said all along that the big work would happen first in us. But words are just sounds until you walk and eat and drive and cry straight through them. Now, my reality makes it impossible to ignore the laundry bag of judgments I've dragged from town to town. Every day is an opportunity to clamp my eyes and choose what I have always believed, or open them to my full wrongness. He loves me enough to change me.

I'm losing patience with doctrine and dogma, popular opinion and politics, focusing my scattered thoughts instead on who He is, the truth of His Word, the greatness of His love, the completeness of His dominion, and the actual work He has for me. That's more than enough, and I'm starting to see the futility of trying to do the important living when I'm bogged down in the weeds.

All the while, He takes a wrecking-ball to my pride and hands me gifts so exquisite they bring my heart to its knees.

He is risen. He made plain His Holiness. He came back to live with us. He came back to live in us.

*Refrigerator artwork courtesy of Olivia.