I pry through my closed blinds and notice glints of pink and magenta. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom and are caught in the steady waves of a light breeze.
Spring is here. But on this side of my blinds, it remains dark and cold. I light a candle and whisper, “Lord, have mercy.”
What else can I say? What else would be enough?
I’ve refused to keep my eyes closed this season, so the weight of the hurting world bears heavy on my heart. The enshrouding darkness pins me down in despair.
Syria. Egypt. San Bernardino.
Deportations. Racism. The current administration.
Was the night this cold and unforgiving when they nailed him to the cross? Did Mother Mary wonder if her tears would dry? Did Peter thirst for forgiveness and redemption? Did Mary Magdalene drown in a sea of loneliness and despair?
I’ve been spending time with these characters in the darkness of Friday. Occasionally I sit with them in the waiting Saturday.
I imagine we break bread in a silent room, and we share the cup of sorrow and suffering.
With Mother Mary, we hold hands and wonder if there is healing after loss or life after death.
With Peter, we look to the distance, gasping for a breath of redemption, a sign of forgiveness.
With Mary Magdalene, we retreat inward, wondering who else would see us, know us and love us, if not the savior.
But there’s a voice in my head, reminding me the promises that’s in the next chapter: Sunday is coming. Christ will rise. All will be restored.
I wonder if this is the ancient secret of the cherry blossoms, if they’re overflowing with the promise that winter will break and Aslan is coming.
Sunday is surely coming, but the darkness of today feels endless. And if there’s anything I’ve learned about pain, it is that running away never works. Healing comes from the center of pain—you have to dive right into the heart of the beast, sit with it, break bread with it, and seek the face of God in it all.
If the stories of the scriptures and of my friends are true, then the divine will shine. Love will emerge, envelop us into her arms, wipe our tears, quench our thirst, then send us back to the world.
So I’m going to take my time in the darkness. I will sit with Mother Mary, Peter and Mary Magdalene on Friday. We will watch our bleeding Savior writhe in agony. We will weep and lament for this suffering world.
I will sit still on Saturday, quietly chanting “Lord, have mercy,” recounting the Gospels and the divine promises. I will be present in the suffering, but I will steep myself in hope. This is how I resist the apathy of pain.
Finally, when Sunday comes, when the stone is rolled and the tomb is empty, when I closely study the scarred hands and the majestic flesh, I will remember that darkness is a gift.
With Mother Mary, I will thank God for the preciousness of life and memories. With Peter, I will taste and see the sweetness of forgiveness and redemption. And with Mary Magdalene, I will know that I am loved and I’m never alone.
I will practice radical and prophetic imagination to invite the light in. While nations and families are being torn apart, I will remember we are farmers, taught to plant seeds of new life. We are peacemakers and peacekeepers who turn our guns into plowshares, and strike the war-stricken earth to plant cherry blossoms of promise.
And when the tree grows tall and strong, it will remind those stuck in the darkness of Friday and the waiting of Saturday that spring is here. They will see the darkness as a gift, and in turn, pick up their plowshares and proclaim hope as they strike the ground.
“Sit with your friends; don’t go back to sleep
Don’t sink like a fish to the bottom of the sea.
Life’s water flows from darkness.
Search the darkness don’t run from it.” —Rumi