10 Tools to Navigate the Uneasy In-Betweens
As predicted in my last blog, I'm at that place in my latest home improvement project that screams, "What a mess! Why am I doing this and where is the rewind button?" Undo. Undo. Undo! I'm painting my kitchen cabinets a sleek, reflective white with brushed chrome hardware. The house is in total disarray. My kitchen is small, but you'd think it was Downton Abbey with all the cabinets strewn in every room, drop cloths guarding my floor and furnishings...along with paper towels, rubber gloves, rags, paint pans and pails. Little Isabella's anxiety is mildly triggered by the messy montage, and I have at least another coat to go. HEAVY sigh. Deep breath. How interesting that I find myself at this uneasy stage on Good Friday. Why Good Friday??? It was a very, very bad Friday. Or so it seemed at the time.
Only days after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus was condemned to death at the hands of the people, many of whom had showered him with accolades and palm branches just days before. Even the apostles had slunk away, leaving only John, the Mary's and crowds of strangers at the foot of the cross. How bitter a gall was this?!
Gall, the herb-laced sour wine given to Jesus as He hung dying was intended to dull the pain. When Jesus tasted it, He refused to drink it. I interpret this as His Holy refusal to wallow in the numbing bitterness of rejection and disappointment He must have felt, as the fully human Divinity, while I sip gall daily. Kind of.
But let's be real. In defense of my long-ago brothers and sisters. How about the seemingly well-justified disillusionment (there's that word again) of all those apostles and the throngs of followers and curiosity seekers, too. It's not that hard to imagine their feelings, so very like my own in the dimly lit hallways of life between what was and what will be:
4 O'Clock Faith | "Really Bad Days" | April 10, 2020
Confusion. "Wait, wasn't he our King, Savior and Deliverer? Why is He putting up with this? Why isn't he blasting these evil oppressors with his super-powered laser finger? Where the platoon of sword-wielding angels to vindicate Himself and slaughter our enemies? What about all those miracles and talk of kingdoms? Wasn't it all real?"
Anger. "Why isn't He doing anything? It's embarrassing! Is He just going to take this?!" or "Those vile Romans! Does their evil know no limits?"
Fear. "OMG, they're going to come after us next! They know we're friends. What are we going to do now? Where can we hide? What's next?"
Shame. "Why didn't I stand up for Him? What kind of a friend am I that I'd bail on Him now? I'm such a coward!"
Sadness and Grief. "Jesus, our amazing, comforting, miracle-working Jesus--Rescuer, companion and treasured friend--unjustly sentenced to death and we're powerless to stop it!"
Despair. "What now?" What ever will we do now?! All hope is gone!"
That Good Friday was so very bad. Just writing this I heaved a few sobs, imagining the sad and suffocating stew of emotion for Christ and for His followers.
Yet more than 2000 years later, we know the ending...or better, the beginning... reflected in Easter, the third day. We know that at the very darkest moment, when all hope was lost, the veil was torn and the earth reverberated with a liberating shudder of triumph that broke through to eternity.
It is finished.
The giant chasm between us and a Perfect God, was bridged by the Cross of Christ.
Yet, like that liminal space between death and resurrection, transitions are hard. Sometimes very hard.
I'm in a meaningful job that is both much needed (by me and others) and sometimes gratifying, yet impossibly hard on multiple fronts and evidently time-limited, with no prospects ahead.
I'm living in a state of suspended social animation, of voluntary celibacy, sporadically wondering if and who I will ever love again.
And yes, I'm living with the common chaos of a home improvement project halfway done.
If you're in the between...
Be in the moment.
Feel your feelings. Cry a little.
Ask God your questions without sugar-coating.
Confess your fears. Write them down.
Tell Him your hopes. Write them, too.
Dream a little. Again, write.
Pray a lot. Whispering His name counts.
Marinate in the flawless, unfailing love poured out on you today.
Happy GOOD Friday. In the work accomplished for us on the cross and in the anticipatory light of Easter, it is a very good day indeed
God loves you no matter what.
Love, peace, grace and joy,