It’s Holy Week. And I’m feeling it, deeply. I’m feeling the tension and the betrayal and the fear. I’m feeling the despair and hope and wonder. There’s a lot held in these seven days. It dawned on me today: these seven days are our life. It’s all Holy Week.
It’s all there in those seven days:
Betrayal by a close companion.
A meal of bread and wine.
Tears of agony.
Loyalty beyond death.
Fear for what’s to come.
Confusion and mistrust.
Desperate pleas for a different ending.
Intimate moments of compassion.
Speaking the truth; denying the truth.
Deep, deep grief.
Severe physical pain.
Friends gathered together.
Prayers of thanksgiving.
Fear of being included; fear of being excluded.
Accusations and pointing fingers.
Learning new rituals.
Can you imagine what this week was like for them thousands of years ago? They didn’t know how the story would end. They didn’t know what was coming next. They were living it moment by moment. We have the benefit of knowing the full story — they did not.
Yes, I know Holy Week isn’t the end of the story… Easter comes next. But then what? Come Monday morning the diagnosis is still there. The anxiety is not gone. The spinning of the mind and the ache of the belly still continue on. It may not always feel as intense as this week, but I’m coming to realize Holy Week never ends. It’s all Holy Week.
I don’t want to be pessimistic about it. I’m not saying life is always hard — but I do think it’s important to acknowledge that life is hard. Acknowledging that doesn’t make me less joyful or grateful, but it does help me recognize the fullness, the wholeness of life.
There were beautiful moments during Holy Week, ones we should practice more often. Things like gathering loved ones around the table for a special meal. Things like caring for the physical body of a friend. Things like being in relationship with God. Things like speaking the truth in love.
I think Holy Week teaches us to live in and be okay with the tension. To hold in one hand the heart wrenching diagnosis of a friend and in the other pure joy at the warm sun on my face. To hold in one hand the future of infertility and in the other gratitude for a new baby born yesterday. To hold in one hand the grief I feel over the loss of my friend and in the other laughter remembering the fun we had together. To hold in one hand “Hosanna!” and in the other “Crucify him!”
As waves of grief have come over me this week, I’m feeling called to live into that tension. To being okay with not being okay. To laugh when laughing is right. To cry when crying is right. To letting myself feel what I need to feel, say what I need to say, and in all of that live fully into who I am.
Let’s be gentle with each other this week. Perhaps, every week.