In between


The dough slowly creeps up in the pan, the inevitable press of yeasty air inflating tomorrow's bread.

I am waiting for the surge above the lip of the metal pans, a puffy roundness that tells me it is time to put the bread in the oven.

All day today I have felt that I am waiting. Waiting for something... waiting for... relief?

There is a heaviness to this day, every year, that I can not deny. Good Friday has never felt good to me. Yes, I understand why it is good. I do.

But still. There is a need to observe, to mark the suffering... to mourn.

I wait.

I read the scriptures to the children over a meal.  We hear familiar words, we pause and think and talk.

The four year old listens and balls up his fists and scowls furiously in defense of Jesus, warrior at the ready. He would have swiped off an ear.

"It makes me want to sin less.  Each sin I choose not to do is less weight on Him on the cross," our nine year old says.

There is a quietness then, as we each feel it deep. I can't swallow the lump away.

We talk about the choice. How someone who could raise Lazarus from the dead, feed 5000 people on a measly lunch, change water to wine... how Someone like that could have blasted His accusers to smithereens. How He didn't have to accept that cross. But He did. Because the alternative was unthinkable.

The children flutter around after the meal thinking about the friends who are coming on Sunday, thinking about the celebration. They make name tags and origami treasures just because they can.

"I can hardly wait! Only two more days!" I hear it many times.

And I can't stop thinking about blood and pain and suffering. I can't stop thinking about Jesus' mother, His brothers, His friends.

They had been waiting, yes?  They had been waiting for a majestic overtaking, a final victory, a Messiah!  But this? No majesty here. No honor but a mockery of a crown and robe and sign, all meant to inflict greater pain.

And then, when He died, that was it. The end of their dreams. Nothing left but hopelessness.

Hopelessness... and for Peter, the crushing knowledge that in Jesus' time of greatest need, he had failed Him.

They didn't even know they were waiting. They didn't know what was coming.

But I do. And you do.

And this is why Good Friday is good.

The dough is stretched and puffed and ready for heat to turn it into bread. I open the oven door and the hair flies back from my face in a wave of hot air. As I bend to place the pans in the oven, my neck begins to burn from the heat my metal necklace absorbs.

It all seems like a dance, this day, this life... every tiny detail around me filled with nuance, telling the same story.

Without heat I am just dough whispers the bread.

Without a need being met there are no celebrations whisper the origami.

Without suffering there is no joy shouts the world.

A need met. Yes. Such need, and such a meeting.

So, like the disciples I grieve. I grieve the need for it to have happened. I grieve my part in it. Because today we are in between.

But Sunday, oh friends, Sunday's coming!

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