by Cheri Tabel
“Why is it called ‘Good Friday’?” my son asked on our walk the other night.
My mouth opened, pausing, as I heard something in my head that was going to sound like a Christian commercial. My mind raced for the factual, Encylopedia-type answer. Finally, I landed on:
“I don’t know.”
It was the universal “I don’t know.” As in, my-spirit-is-weary-as-to-why-good-is-attached-to-one-of-the-darkest-days I don’t know.
And there was silence.
Then there was talk about what that day must have been like.
Then more silence.
“And I’ll find strength in pain. And I will change my ways. I’ll know my name as it’s called again.”
I’ve been ill. Some days very ill. I’ve been ill for what has felt like a long time. I call these last 14 months the “year of living sickly.” There is something that happens to your mind, your body, your spirit when you are physically not well for long periods of time.
“I’ve watched your light go out,” someone said to me last month.
When you’re ill for long lengths of time, you begin to believe “well” will never quite be within reach. Even on days that are better, you wonder. You wait. You’re anxious. Is what I’m feeling real? Because you just can’t believe it will last. And illness has become your friend. It’s what you know.
We are a mom and son family. It is the two of us. He is 12. I joke he’s been raising himself this last year. But, I’m not joking. I wonder and worry about what he’s experienced in this year of living sickly. Watching my light go out. Seeing me so depleted.
“He’s also seen you rise,” a friend said, kindly.
Our favorite spot on the planet is a beach in Florida on the Gulf side.
We are on the beach for every sunset. Amazed and delighted, as if we’re seeing it for the first time. While we wait for the sun, we have our toes in the sand, watching the tides roll in and out as we hunt for seashells.
The rise and fall of each tide changes things. The sand shifts. The seashell treasure you were so close to grabbing is no longer there. But something just as beautiful has taken its place. And you look on in wonder again. From above, that change is lovely and amazing.
The last treatment in this year of living sickly was to take six to eight weeks. Now, almost six months later, there are some signs that it just might be working. I stopped looking in the mirror early on in the year of living sickly. I’m working on that now, from above, to see how lovely and amazing all that change can be.
As I sat through the Palm Sunday service last weekend, I was full of gratitude for the good in these darkest days. For the strength in pain. For the changing tides.
About the Author: I’m a mother, marketer, and maker of sentences by stringing words together. A word nerd, I type with purpose. I see the world with a liberal point of view – mainly that we’re here to help the most vulnerable. I’m a full-time single mom and part-time chauffeur to an active kiddo, who is always helping me find the next life lesson.