Tuesday, March 25, 2008

good friday visitation

We made it to Somerset on Good Friday to visit Brandon. The trip is simply grueling no matter how well we plan or how nice the weather is. It is 8 hours or more on the road and 4-6 hours of visitation with only vending machine food to choose from. I was grateful to be there, though. We hadn't seen our son since the graduation ceremony in December. Every time I see him I'm surprised. Last visit he was shaggy as a grizzly bear, and this visit he had a shorn head with a Van Dyke beard. It always takes me half a second to adjust to see him coming out of the door of his block. I think we are getting to the point in this journey where I really wish he'd be just even an hour closer. Of course we wanted him closer before, but now it's just...c'mon on, must the family be punished as well? But God knows.

Of course, it being Holy Week, I was thinking about our own family's passion, if that is not too irreverent a way to look at it. I suppose my thinking is this-as a believer I'm finding more and more that the events and struggles of my life link me closer to Christ and this time of His suffering on earth. I remember how painful it was after years of living as well as I thought I should, and being the mother I thought I should, to read the newspaper accounts of Brandon's crime and his home situation. The humiliation was more than I could bear, as though running downstairs to get the paper as soon as it hit the porch and reading it first would make things go away. Then I realized how totally and completely Jesus' character was called into question and reviled by His enemies, even though He'd done nothing at all except be who He was. If my Lord and Master was called the devil himself by people, what could I expect? No one should have to suffer that, but suddenly I understood so much more clearly the cost of my own faith.

I suppose I have learned humility, but not shame. As I see Brandon now, I'd like to think that if he were a character in Christ's passion, he'd be the thief on the cross who asked to be remembered by the Lord when He went to His kingdom. I always receive comfort when I read His words, "This day you will be with me in Paradise." That is the forgiving nature of the God I serve, and His love. Jesus was not spared His earthly mission, and I'm reminded, too, that He asked that the cup be passed. I didn't have to choose whether my son would suffer-it happened and we were carried through the storm. Jesus made a choice to go through agony for the sins of His people. But in hindsight, part of me would ask...let this cup pass our family, please.

Still, when we got home after spending the day with Bran, I felt a sense of peace. I know he WAS spared in many ways. The young man that calmly sat there in faded brown and flat sneakers is not the same person who left our house that Friday night in a blind determination to be his own master at any price. Once again I thought to myself how I had prayed, "Lord, do whatever it takes to save him..." That prayer was answered in ways I could never have foreseen, and I'm glad. But I know I couldn't not have been alone through it-in another time and another place, a Father watched His Son have nails driven into His flesh and was forced to listen to His cries without being able to answer. I can't fathom it. Well, yes, maybe I can now.


Blogger wood_song said...

Good Friday. A friend commented, "What was good about it?" And she was nearly flayed for saying it. Not by me - I totally understood her probing question.

The truth is, what WAS good about it? On that day, a man, with flesh and blood and all the same nerve endings and emotions we have, was mocked, humiliated, tortured, and crucified...in a most inhumane fashion.

"Well, he rose from the dead on Sunday, though." Yippee.

No seriously, I am so very happy he did. But that makes it Good Sunday in my book.

"Well, he died for our sins that day."

Again, happy...for me.

But, he also begged his father...begged his father...

Begged his father.

And why? He was as omniscient as the father - he KNEW ahead of time that he would rise up in 3 days. Knew he would hold the keys to heaven and earth. Knew where he would spend the rest of eternity.

He begged his father because of pain. And not, I believe, the physical pain. To die for people who mock you, scorn what you stand for, hate your very existence.

Ahhhh...there's a pain I can only imagine.

On that day, I feel shame...and a well of gratitude so deep it makes me weep.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

Without the terrible events of that day, I could not trust God I think. Every doubt, fear, unimaginable torture of the mind and heart and body, were foisted upon him, so I feel I cannot go through anything in life without the realization of that truth. Doesn't make it any easier at times, but does put it into a very intimate and personal context where my faith is concerned.

8:46 AM  

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