Today, as I was driving my girls home from the hospital (routine tube change for K), my mind wandered back to our church Seder meal last night and how lovely it was. My mind was full of images of my family exuding joy…K cracking up with new friends, Josie being her hammiest self, Josh with a fit of giggles that he could not shake over something I cannot remember. I thought about these beautiful people we were surrounded by, as we laughed and ate and gave communion to one another; people who we have only just begun to know and love. And then I thought of Jesus and his friends, and their last night together. Was it like ours?

Did he marvel at the faces of his beloveds, knowing this was the last time he would be with them like this? Did time slow down as they laughed? Did it seem like his heart would burst with the love and joy and pain and dread of it all? Did he memorize the feeling of their skin as he washed their feet and try to soak up every detail of their faces as he gave them communion? Did his heart break, knowing the immense, earth-shaking loss that was just over the horizon for them?

I think sometimes we get so caught up in his divine nature that we overlook the beauty and depth of his humanity. I don’t know exactly how he felt that night, as he sat surrounded by the people he loved and had lived his life with, knowing that the end was so, so close, but I do know what it feels like to be surrounded by the people I love and live my life with, and I can imagine what it would feel like to know it was the last time. The thought of letting go of any of the people I hold so tightly in my heart is brutal, enough to fill my eyes with tears even as a distant imagining, much less as a rapidly approaching certainty. How did he bear it? How did he bear any of it?

Good Friday is often challenging for me, maybe it is for you as well. The expanse of despair and suffering is so enormous that I can’t hold it all at once, and sometimes it seems like I can’t get a grasp on it at all. The joy of the Sunday we see coming can easily outshine the darkness and grief of a Friday that must have seemed anything but good at the time.  Sunday may be glorious, but we have to remember there is no Sunday without Friday. The darkness is integral to the story. And today as I sat in my car on 610, a sliver of it found me and I felt it, deep and wide, and let it stay heavy in my heart for as long as I could.

Sunday is coming, but I hope we all find a way to let Friday wash over us first.