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“Good” Friday

This is one of the hardest posts to pen, as I’m attempting to remember the details from over 2 years ago. Golly. Over two years…one home sold…another one bought. Three pregnancies unlike our previous three. Daughters 9 mos, two and four. Who could have EVER fathomed, the journey our Lord and Savior was ready to navigate us through.

But it’s one of the most important travels, I believe. The timing—circumstances—people.

The Easter triduum is not a Catholic tradition we excel at. If I’m lucky, we make it a couple days. Good Friday was one service I was able to make. We had received crushing news so very, very recently. Putting one foot in front of the other was exhausting. Typically, during this most Holy week the colors our Heavenly Father paints seem extra vibrant. Now my eyes could only perceive as muddy grey.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for helping me make it to where you needed me to be that day.

I discreetly genuflected, then entered one of the pews near the back. Deacon Paul gave the Sermon. He and I hadn’t talked about the burden I carried, as it was so recent. So raw. Anyhow, his message was beautiful and completely mesmerized me through tears. The crux of what he said was this:

Palm Branch Cross“Bring your hurts…your mistakes…your anguish…your failures…your disappointments…your pain…your heartaches…your regrets. Don’t try and wrap them in a pretty box and bow, but simply bring them as they are. Lay them down before the cross. Personally venerate the Cross. Then***most importantly***turn AND walk away. Otherwise, the cross would have been for naught. (((Whoa…let that one sink in)))”

The tears which stung my eyes as they welled within now gently warmed my cheeks as they spilled over. Deacon Paul encouraged eye contact with me as I gently wept and wiped my nose. Time and again he came back as if to remind me “this message is for YOU, Alicia.” At that point He was an absolute willing voice of the Holy Spirit. His words were like balm on my broken heart.

About that time I became aware that my precious friend and prayer partner, Jen, was actually in my same pew. She scooted over to me and lovingly held me, placing my head upon her shoulder…as if to say “this is bigger than you, I’m gonna be with you and help you carry the load.”

Her gesture helped me find my footing, as it was time to venerate the cross. Once upright, I felt fairly steady. Cross veneration had always felt extremely awkward to me. On this day, however, my knees just buckled as the weeping became anguished sobs. My arms collapsed around the cross and my lips tenderly kissed it.

Deacon Paul’s words resonated, as we returned to our seats to pray. Communion was prepared, and when I went up for Communion, I was in his line. This Amen was the very hardest one I’ve ever spoken. “I believe you, Lord. I trust you, Daddy. I hold your hand, Yahweh!” Deep down, my Soul knew the words that my Heart longed to hear.

The service ended, and he came to my side to listen. The tears bubbled up as I tried to say so bravely “our Baby is going Home before we’ll meet him. This precious little boy, expected the week of his Daddy’s birthday. Our firstborn Son…” Deacon Paul’s eyes brimmed with tears as he said “I’m so very, very sorry. Intentionally, I gave you the broken part of the Host. I can tell how very, very broken you feel right now. My promise to you: it won’t always be this way. This could have been anyone. Actually…it was us…many years ago. We can talk about that some other time.”

Reflecting back. Two and a half years ago. I’m grateful for the people…the words…the tears…the healing…the truth that God planted deep within us. Burden laid down. Back turned. To Him be the Glory as His story continues!

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