Good Friday – for the “first” time at the age of 9

I grew up taking some things for granted.  And, when you are 39 it is quite easy to forget there are some things even the brightest 9 year-olds don’t know.

It has been a long week.  One of doctors, and appointments.  Lots of homework.  Running errands to try to catch up on our lives. Felix’s grandmother, who Meghan and I barely knew, passed away this week.  Emotions.  Pain.  The hearts hurt. The hand hasn’t healed quite yet.   Physical Therapy.  Lots of processing for my deep thinker.

I know Meghan knew this was “Holy Week,”  if f0r no other reason, than I had told her.

She participated in the Palm Sunday Service last Sunday and understood everything in great detail.

Wednesday our church set up “stations,”  where you could travel to experience Jesus‘ last days.  There was fragrance, 30 pieces of silver, bread, wine, a cross to nail your sins, a stone to imagine the weight of the one in front of Jesus’ tomb. There were 13 stations in all.  Each one a meaningful experience – traveled through alone or in a pair.

At each station there was a Bible passage, and a scenario.  There was a way to put yourself in the situation.  Meghan and I traveled most of the stations together, talking and sharing as we went.  Long productive conversation that night.

We did not make service last night, but tonight, we headed into the “Good Friday” service.

tenebrae

I had never experienced a Tenebrae service, or a service of shadows.  There was a huge cross of candles in the front, extinguished one at a time as various readings were completed.

And, knowing her so well I watched Meghan through the service become increasingly uncomfortable.

When we left and asked her about it, she told us she never knew the story of Jesus’ death.  She had heard it told, but never read from the Bible.  She had no idea the extent of His suffering.  She was amazed that He could still love us after all the awful things that went on.

Long, long discussions.  Just starting to wrap up.

My first reaction was guilt.  Had I failed as a Christian mom?

Then I realized, as always, things were happening as they were supposed to.

I was learning lesson upon lesson just hearing her speak.

We are so weighed down by the earthly problems, that we sometimes forget.  We sometimes lose focus.

Cowden’s Syndrome, cancer, PTEN, AVMs, viruses, surgeries, whatever the suffering,… we are children of a loving, forgiving God.

Jesus died to save us from our sins.  To lighten the load.  To eliminate the judgment and condemnation that sometimes weighs on our hearts – so we can concentrate on the important stuff.

And on the third day He will rise again…

it is finished

How blessed are we?  Sometimes I need my 9 year old to remind me.

Friends…

It was hard to believe it had been so many years since we were all together.  It was even harder to imagine it was over 15 years since we all shared space, time, and our souls in SUNY New Paltz.  It was a far cry from most of our late nights at P & Gs.

As a matter of fact , as we sat across from each other at The Cheesecake Factory in New Jersey, two of them pregnant and all of us chatting about our children, and old times -often in the same breath- you never would have imagined the amount of time that passed since we last spoke – face to face.

But the food was decent, and the conversation refreshing, and I found myself wishing it could happen more often – or last a lot longer.  It hardly seemed right to get up when only a few hours had passed.  But each of our lives called us away.  To children, and husbands, and lives that needed tending to.

As we hugged each other, and I watched my two friends ‘baby bumps” bang into each other, I was reminded of the reality that real friendships truly do last forever.  We picked up with each other as though graduation had been last week, and although there was so much more to say, there wasn’t a moment that lacked conversation.

Facebook has been a blessing for us.  A way to keep tabs on each other, and keep track of the major happenings.  These ladies used Facebook as a means of support for me over the last six months, when some days it seemed the sky was falling.  They reached out to me – as if we were still next door neighbors in New Paltz.  Facebook arranged our meeting last night.  As a simple group message “Hey can we pull this off?” – and I am so grateful we did.

See in order to stay sane, life has to be about more than Cowden’s Syndrome.  It has to be about more than knee pain that wakes my girl up in the middle of the night after only 4 days without her Celebrex.  (At least we tried!)

Life has to be about more than infections that scare me half to death, viruses that take hold way too fast, and doctors that want to fix it all but don’t know how.

It can’t always be about tumors, and, “Are they growing or not?”

It can’t always be about the tests and the screenings, like tomorrow’s colonoscopy.

The recovery room at tomorrow’s colonoscopy site!

Those things are always going to be part of our lives – forever.  They aren’t going away.  That is the reality of Cowden’s Syndrome.

But the real reality, in the world where we know too well that “Everyone has Something,” is that it is necessary to make time to hug old friends.  It is helpful to the soul, to relive old times, and to sometimes sit and have dinner with people who stood beside you years ago, and who have made it clear they are prepared to do the same now.