Whenever I think about the reality of the disciples and those who followed Jesus during his life, I wonder how this week impacted them in real time. Even though Jesus alluded to things that were to come and their religious history pointed to a messianic figure who would suffer and die, I honestly get the feeling that they didn’t believe it all. They followed him because he inspired hope. Jesus empowered them to believe that anything was possible; that life could be different – full of love, relationships and connections that looked like nothing they had experienced before.
Jesus was a purveyor of hope and the people who loved him put their hope above any reality of what was or what pain was lurking right around the proverbial corner.
I can’t imagine how the disciples and Jesus’ family felt as the week, which began on a high, ended with deep pain and despair. It was probably a week where emotions ran high and disbelief became a constant companion. It was probably a week when people started to wonder how much worse could it get. Those closest to Jesus probably wanted to spend more time with him and had the nagging feeling that time was of the essence.
When Jesus was killed, those loved him probably grieved in ways they never had before. They did not just feel mere sadness over the death of a loved one; I imagine that they were encompassed by despair. And this despair wasn’t about Jesus dying, per say. It was about something much larger. They had a visceral reaction to the death of a dream.
Jesus’ death signaled the death of hope, of what could be. Today – Holy Saturday – was a day when they realized that God was dead. All that was good and holy and life giving and awe inspiring, died. It was a day they realized that everything they had hoped for, had longed for, had believed would happen, came crashing down.
This Holy Week has been a doozy.
On the personal front, I dealt with the death of a dream that I didn’t even know I had; the death of possibility to be exact. After years of dealing with uterine fibroids, it became clear that I needed to take steps to address the issue. After testing and consultation with my gynecologist and surgeon, I opted to undergo Uterine Fibroid Embolization. This procedure will render me unable to bear children.
To be clear, I have never wanted to carry a child. I’ve written it about this before, here and here. At 35 years of age, I have come to realize that my path in life will probably not include children that I physically gave birth to.
However, unbeknownst to me, there was still an idea that maybe, just maybe, I could still have a child with my genetic make up. When it became a reality that I might have to look at having a procedure that would make childbearing impossible, I started wondering about freezing my eggs. Could this be for me? Could I store my eggs and then maybe employ a surrogate to birth a child for me when I was ready?
It seemed a bit nonsensical but I am someone who likes to have options. On top of making the decision to move forward with a procedure that will improve my quality of life but render me unable to have children, this week I also came to terms with the fact that freezing eggs was an option I couldn’t afford. I began to realize that motherhood in the traditional sense was truly not in my cards.
I’ve been grieving this week. I feel like any hope that I had for could be, has died. I feel like this decision was one that I wanted to make in the context of a romantic relationship, but that is not my current reality. If I am honest, there is also a small part of me that wonders about my woman-ness.
In addition to dealing with my personal issues, this Holy Week has also been one that feels like our communal life is imploding.
Our local politics have disintegrated to such a state that our representatives who serve in national office refuse to show up to talk with their constituents. People are wondering if the health care they have will continue in its current state or if they will be stripped of care. Immigrants and those visiting from other countries face the ongoing fear of deportation or are outright denied entry. Religious communities are worried for their members, having been threatened and attacked for simply existing. Police brutality continues to disproportionately impact communities of color. Our education system is failing students throughout the country. Women are fighting to retain reproductive health rights.
On the global front, I awake each day wondering if there is a new war that will be started by the USA and the impact this will have on global sisters and brothers. I wonder how our ongoing greed, corruption and bullying will contribute to generational trauma. I wonder if we are bombing ourselves into a never-ending cycle of violence. I constantly think about those on the other side of oceans and those in the southern hemisphere who are just trying to live. I wonder how we got to this place. Have we become so out of touch with our own humanity that we become immune to the humanity of another? I wonder about our collective human-ness.
Today is indeed Holy Saturday. Despair runs rampant. Hope does not spring eternal. Tears flow freely. Fear is all around.
In this moment, I intellectually know that Easter – the resurrection of hope – is around the corner. However, I can’t lose sight of those in the presence of the first Holy Week. Those who loved Jesus didn’t know that Jesus’ death wasn’t the end of the story. I can only imagine that their Holy Saturday, the days between Jesus’ death and his resurrection, were interminable.
As a person of Christian faith, even though I know the “end” of the story – that death and despair don’t win; that abundance wins over scarcity; that life and love beat out fear – I don’t rush pass the Holy Saturday moments of life. I’ve learned that by embracing all the feels and lamenting loss, I am able to come out on the other side open to what could be.
There have been two resources that have helped me this week and I commend them to anyone who is struggling with a Holy Saturday moment or chapter in their own life – one is a sermon by my sister, Rev. Leila Ortiz and the other is a song by my friend, Heatherlyn. I hope they provide some comfort to you today.
And remember, you are not alone.